Skip to main content

Full text of "Ares Magazine 01 - Worldkiller"

See other formats


Nr. 1. March 1980 



tdirector Redmond A. Simons 
3R Robert J. Rver 
associate EurrOR Michael E Moore 
managing art director Manfred F. Milkuhn 
contributing editors; Greg Costikyan, Jam* 
Dunnigan, Eric Goldberg. Brad E Hessel, Sieve 
David Ritchie, graphic production: David En 
Rosalind Fruchtman, Ted Koller. circulation 
SUBSCRIPTION FULFILLMENT: John Gr 
fulfillment: Theresa Canto 






fished bi-monthly. One 



,g tditor. SPI assumes n, 



SUBMISSIONS:/ 



Aess 



THEMAGAZINEOF 

SCIENCE FICTION 
AND FANTASY 
SIMULATION 



SIMULATION GAME: 

WorldKiller 


REDMOND A. SIMONSEN 


.9 


Dragon. ..Ghost 


M LUCIE CHIN 


4 


Gangsters 


HENRIKNORDLIE 


14 


WorldKiller Storyboard 


REDMOND A SIMONSEN 


24 


No, You're Not Going 
to the Stars 


JOHN BOARDMAN. Ph.D. 


10 


FILM & TELEVISION 


S.BUKATMAN& M.MOORE 


26 


GAMES 


ERIC GOLDBERG el al 


27 


BOOKS 


GREG COSTIKYAN 


35 


MEDIA 


HOWARD BARASCH 


35 


FEEDBACK 


THEGODS 


38 


ENCLOSURES: IV.wMWte.-map and coun 


«F^»t^ tota 





0SPI 



257 Park Avenue South, New York 



'. 10010 (212)673-4103 



Muse; 



With this first issue, we take a signifi- 
cant step towards the unification of an au- 
dience heretofore extant only as parts of 
other audiences. Fantasy, science fiction, 
and simulation gaming share a common cord 
of connective tissue; the constructed world. 
To a greater degree than any so-called 
"mainstream" fiction, works of science fic- 
tion and fantasy imply or explain worlds 
much more dependent upon the product of 
the imagination — worlds inherently more 
poetic and allusive, thereby. The readers ac- 
cept the construct in order that they may 
properly experience the fiction. 

Similarly, simulation games depend 
upon the acceptance of a construct — but in 
a more overt and interactive manner. In 
games, the audience is required not only to 
visualize the events (and background) of the 
"story" but also to cause them to happen. 
This feature is perhaps the most powerful 
asset of simulation games as an sf/f 
medium. 

I see an ever increasing interest in 
science fiction/fantasy simulation games - 
indeed, all of SPI's bestsellers are now from 
that category. This relatively young form of 
science fiction and fantasy publishing prom- 
ises to enhance both ihe gaming hobby 
and the literary side of the genre. New hob- 
byists will be drawn to the games — those 
that have no interest in conventional 

Cover painting by Howard Cbaykin, designed by Redmond Simonsen 



historical simulations but whose reading 
tastes bring them to the sf/f games — and 
(with Ares) a new outlet for short fiction 
comes to life in a period of dying sf/f 
periodicals. 

The advent of Ares should not be con- 
fused with the recent spate of science and 
quasi-science magazines nor with the recent 
flood of schlock sf/f films. Our magazine 
springs from the separate phenomenon that 
correlates gaming and sf/f. This correlation 
was appreciated by SPI several years ago 
when it published StarForce. the first of a 
long line of science fiction and fantasy 
games. It would be more accurate to say that 
the pressure of the existence of so many 
games caused the inception of Ares. This 
process operated in much the same way that 
the growing body of historical simulations 
caused the birth of Strategy & Tactics 
Magazine. In fact, the basic suggestion that 
started the launch of Ares came from a 
volunteer game tester (Bill Seligman) on a 
Friday game-test night at SPI's New York 
editorial offices (it was on 20 July 79, the 
tenth anniversary of humankind's landing on 

Aside from its service features, the 
magazine is designed around three main 
axes: its game; its stories; and its factual 
science and historical fantasy articles. The 
third category of material is meant to per- 
form the same function as the historical ar- 
ticles in Strategy & Tactics Magazine. They 
provide a context within which the creative 
fiction and simulation material can be en- 
joyed and explored. In science, our intention 
is to cover all the major areas that support or 
form the heart of most science fiction. The 



roots and archetypes of magic, myth, and 
legend will be the basis for articles 'Jiat link 
fantasy with historical and literary reality. 

We are all truly glad to have you with us 
as of this our first issue. Please actively use 
your vote (via the Feedback system unique 
.to SPI publications! and also cajole us in 
writing every chance you get. - Redmond 



SUBMISSIONS: 

Fiction: Ares seeks original, high quality fic- 
tion from established fantasy and science fic- 
tion writers. For story needs and specifica- 
tions, Michael Moore, Associate Editor. 
Nonfiction: Ares needs articles, 3000 to 
6000 words in length, on science and 
historical magic and myth as they relate to 
science fiction and fantasy. Previous 
publication credits are desireable. Submit 
Summary or outline. 

Game Related Articles: Short critical and 
technical pieces (1000 to 3000 words maxl 
dealing with fantasy and science fiction 
games and gaming are needed. In this 
category, submissions by hobbyists are 
encouraged. 

Press Releases and Announcements: 
Publicity material should be sent well in ad- 
vance of the event or product release. Ares 
publishes - free of charge - announce- 
ments of sf/f conventions and fan events. 
SEND ALL SUBMISSIONS TO: 
ARES MAGAZINE 
SPI 

257 Park Avenue South 
New York, N.Y. 10010 
attention: Michael Moore 



Ask your SPI game dealer 
about these bestselling titles! 




f 




WAR IN THE ICE 

The First Antarctic Conflict. 
1991-1992 

\1u'.:i-pl:i>i'r same with 



0660,512.00. 



THE CREATURE 

THAT ATE SHEBOYGAN 

Science fiction monsters face 
the police anil National Guard 
in a typical American city. 
2330, SS.95 boxed. 
2336, $3.95 softpack. 




1346. $3.95 softpack. 



2356. S.1.15 M.flpack. 



2366, $3.95 soflpack. 




| AFTER THE 
' HOLOCAUST 







SORCERER 


AFTER THE HOLOCAUST 


BATTLEFLEET MARS 


SWORDS AND SORCERY 


JOHN CARTER, 


ThE Game ol Magical Conflict 


The Nuclear Devastation of America: 


Spars Combat in the 21st Century 


Quest and Conquest 


WARLORD OF MARS 




Recovery and Reunification 




in the Age ol Magic 




L reaic armies, ol mysiical 


Multi-plaver game sei 20 vcars 


combai in ihe solar svsicm. as 


A luniih ik-iailcd fantasy world 




creatures in a land of multi- 




Earth's colonics seek Iheir 










independence. 


iliis individualized, multi-player 




1020, $12.00. 


1520. $14.00. 


1580, $15.00. 


1990, $18.00. 





FICTION 



D 



ragon 



...Ghost 




by M.Lucie Chin 



ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN H. BUTTERFIELD 



Hsu vuen pao was a Taoist monk; an 
eccentric wanderer, an educated 
man, poet and a magician. To me 
he was mentor, protector, companion and 
friend. He was sometimes called by the 
peasants we encountered The Man Who 
Walks With Ghosts. 

I am the ghost. 

Or so I have been told. So olten in fact 
that after all the time I have been here that 
name alone might be enough, but there is 
more. I remember dying. That is I remember 
the event; the time, the place, the circum- 
stances, the stupidity... but not the moment 
itself. Sometimes I think I am still falling, it 
was a long way from the top of the Wall, and 
all my life since that asinine mistake is just a 
dream, one long last thought between living 
and dying. But only sometimes. It is hard to 
believe when the night is cold enough to 
freeze dragon fire. It is hard to believe when 
drought turns rivers to muddy washes and 
rice fields to waste lands and a poor traveler 
must become a thief to eat. At such times it 
is easier to believe I have always been here, 
following Hsu Yuen Pao across the land. 

But in the end that too is utterly unbe- 
lievable, t know too much of another place 
and time. In my childhood mankind reached 
for the stars. The Sons of Han have yet to 
reach across the sea. 

I do not know the date by any measure 
of time I was ever taught. I can not translate 
the Lunar calendar into the Julian of my 
memory. It is ancient China, the women 
have not yet begun to bind their feet and no 
man in this land has ever seen a European. 
That is what I know of now. What of then? 

I was born in Boston Massachusetts on 
the 12th of June 2010, a fourth generation 
American of Chinese descent. My name was 
Daniel Wing and the extent of my ethnic 
education was limited to the salutations ex- 
changed on Chinese New Year and the 
names of my favorite edibles. Barefoot on 
the road I stand five feet nine and a half 
inches, and at the time of the accident atop 
the Great Wall of China, I was as much a 
tourist as any of the obvious Causasians who 
made up my group, following the polite guide 
who filled our heads with images of the past. 

It was early April atop the Wall. Some- 
where on the way down, as I exchanged one 



reality for another, it became warm and 
balmy late spring and I became gwai. . . the 
ghost. Towering above that diminutive an- 
cient population, dressed strangely, babbling 
incomprehensibly, understanding nothing 
and no one, I was a perfect candidate for 
ghosthood: a non-person, inhuman. Gwai. It 
is the only word the Chinese have for those 
who are not of the Sons of Han, the True 
People, the Chinese themselves. It ex- 
presses, more than a lack of life, a lack of 
reality. It suits perfectly, these days, my own 
concept of myself. 

It is said that a ghost grows faint when 
touched by the breath of a living man. To spit 
upon him robs him of his powers to change 
form and vanish. I was spit upon often in the 
days before Hsu Yuen Pao found me. He 
was a wise man. He understood ghosts far 
better than the peasants who harried and 
chased me from their villages and fields. I did 
not trust him particularly, but he was quiet 
and patient and fed me and talked for me un- 
til I learned enough to speak for myself. 

He was a small man, even among his 
own people, and he wore his garments oddly 
and in a most casual manner. He was young 
in appearance, though generally travel worn, 
but his obsidian eyes seemed old as time, 
deep as wells, seeming to hold yet conceal 
the knowledge of great age. Villagers some- 
times whispered that he had found the secret 
of eternal life, the personal immortality the 
ancient Taoist monks sought relentlessly. 
His hair was very black and carefully braided 
into the longest queue I have ever seen, 
which he wore looped through his sash in 
back for convenience. There hung about his 
person and around his neck an array of bags, 
pouches and containers of many types and 
sizes, and across his back was slung a long, 
narrow sheath. It was curved, seemingly to 
better fit the line of his body, and nearly a 
yard long, black and slim enough to house 
only the most needle thin of blades. A most 
unusual and impractical weapon I felt but 
surely one of great value, for the hilt was the 
purest and clearest of pale pink crystal and in 
gossamer script of gold upon the scabbard 
were the two characters yu and yu, one the 
ideograph for abundance, the other the sym- 
bol for fish. 



He was afraid of nothing. Brave, in my 
opinion, to the edge of foolishness, mis- 
chievous as a child when the mood struck 
him, and we were frequently in trouble of 
one sort or another. 

There was not a dialect we encountered 
which he did not speak with fluency and 
command, and he wrote poems I have never 
gained the skill to appreciate. I loved them 
though 1 could not read them. 

In the quiet of night or as we walked the 
endless land, migrating more or less with the 
seasons, he would tell me of ghosts and he 
would tell me of dragons. 

"The face of the earth is covered with 
endless, invisible trails of the dragon Lung 
Mei. To build a house or bury the dead upon 
such a spot is a great fortune." 

He often said he felt that he and I had 
met upon such a spot. 

In the second summer of my new existence 
we made a leisurely journey toward the 
western mountains. At the convergence 
of certain mountain streams there is a cata- 
ract called the Dragon Gate. Thegreatcarpof 
the rivers migrate yearly to this spot to make 
the valiant but usually futile attempt to leap 
the falls. Those fish who succeed and gain 
the higher waters are immediately rewarded 
and transformed into dragons. They then 
climb to the highest peaks, mount the pass- 
ing clouds and are borne off into the 
heavens. 

The Dragon Gate and the slopes around 
it are also the site of rare dragon bones of the 
finest quality, and Hsu Yuen Pao had made 
this journey often to collect them for geo- 
mancy and medical uses. In the evenings as 
we sorted our small hoard, setting some to 
dry by the fire and grinding the more fragile 
ones into fine powders, he would instruct me 
as best he could, considering the still simple 
state of my vocabulary. 

"Remember, Little Brother, Lung is the 
god of all waters and the lord of all scaled 
creatures. When Lung is small, all fish are 
small. When he is of great size and well 
pleased with himself, there is abundance in 
all the land." 

He was patronizing and often conde- 
scending. But he was also totally fascinat- 



ing; no less so for believing himself every- 
thing he told me. And I learned. Sifting 
through the convoluted speech patterns the 
Chinese love, the multiple meanings and im- 
plications, carefully sorting fact from myth 
and tradition, anecdote from parable, 1 slow- 
ly built a body of knowledge I could rely on. . . 
in one way or another. My preconceptions 
and skeptical nature frequently got in the 
way, however, and my memories of another 
place and time. The first severe blow to these 
notions came at the end of a month on the 
slopes around the falls. 

There had been a great display of heat 
lightning far off on the eastern plain during 
the night, and I had been amused by Yuen 
Pao's suggestion that it was an omen of 
some sort, by the seriousness with which he 
sat up much of the night watching the pat- 
terns of light and the scanty film of clouds 
hovering above the mountaintops looking 
for interpretations. He found none, though. 

We spent the morning descending to 
lower slopes through hardwood 
and conifers and rhododendrons. 

In the afternoon we passed a village 
nestled where three mountain streams con- 
verged. In spite of this the crops which had 
earlier promised abundant yields now were 
only mediocre and then only at the cost of 
great labor to irrigate. At the next village we 
spent the night. 

Their situation was much the same but 
there was word that the central flat lands 
were suffering badly. What had been scanty 
rain upon the mountain slopes and valley in 
the past month had not reached the plains at 
all. Every morning the women and girls of- 
fered sweet rice steamed with sausages and 
nuts, bound in leaves, to the rain god, toss- 
ing them into the streams by the dozens. 
Beside the fields and in the bamboo groves 
braces of swallows hung from poles, with 
long banners of red paper inscribed with 
respectful prayers. 

Hsu Yuen Pao looked about, nodding 
sagely as we walked, and did not bother to 
explain. But I got the gist of things pretty 
well by that time. The Chinese system of 
education by osmosis was quite workable... 
if it was the only thing you had to do with 
your life, which in my case was literally true. 

He marked our course southeast as we 
continued toward the plain. It was his con- 
tention that we must reach the coastal lands 
before the monsoon season. 

Things were not yet so bad in the low- 
lands as we had expected to find on that first 
day down and at noon we stopped in a bam- 
boo grove, still delicately lovely in the mo- 
tionless air. I took the pack, which I had 
become accustomed to carrying, from my 
back and went about collecting the youngest 
shoots. When I returned with my pockets full 
I found Yuen Pao standing across the grove, 
looking at me so oddly it stopped me in my 
tracks. 

"Brother Gwai," he said somberly, 
"The night of the lightning was indeed an 
omen. But it was not for me to understand." 

I have never been an endlessly patient 
man. Occasionally, the obliqueness of his 
technique exasperated me. 

"Brother Pao," I said. "I do not under- 
stand. I am not a prophet. I know nothing of 



dreams or omens. I am ignorant. Please 
speak more plainly." I had learned to talk 
humbly in this land. 

"Lan Lung," he said in a low tone. 
The lazy deaf one? I was perplexed. Col- 
loquialisms are confusing in any language, 
particularly so in Chinese. But lung is also the 
word for dragon. Being unable to hear, the . 
dragon came to be known by the word for its 
only handicap. Lan Lung, then, was also a 
lazy dragon, I had heard the term as an 
epithet hurled at street beggars. It made ut- 
terly no sense in a bamboo grove. I did not 
understand and said so. 

Yuen Pao instructed me to stay exactly 
where I was till he returned, then he seemed 
literally to vanish. When he returned there 
was a brace of swallows in his hand and the 
odd look was still on his face. 

I went to my pack as he told me, folded 
back the flap, stepped aside and waited. 
Yuen Pao approached the pack cautiously, 
slowly swinging the dead birds by their feet, 
wings trussed with red cord. 

At first I watched Yuen Pao. Then I 
watched what he watched. There was the 
smallest ripple of movement within my bag. 
Hsu Yuen Pao said one word. 

The creature that emerged was tiny, 

palm-sized. It seemed, as the young of many 

reptiles may, exquisitely perfect in miniature. 

"This," I said, my smile broad with 

delight, "is a dragon?" 

"Do not deceive yourself, Little Brother. 
Lan Lung is dragon enough for any man." 

Gesturing for me to move farther aside 
he offered the swallows before him and 
backed slowly away. Within the shadow of 
the pack tiny eyes flashed incandescently 
orange, bobbed up and down and were ex- 
tinguished by daylight as it crept from cover. 
It was not as tiny as I had at first 
thought, though still small and precious. A 
large handful then, perhaps a foot long head 
to tail. It had a vaguely bovine head with a 
long broad-nostril led snout. Scalloped plates 
of scale - white rimmed in blue, green and 
orange — lay flat against the head, three 
rows deep behind the eyes and below the 
jaw. Its muzzle bristled with catlike lavender 
whiskers and upon its crown were short, 
blunt, double branching horns. 

Eyeing the birds greedily, the little lizard 
arched his sinuous, serpentine body and rose 
upon his haunches, stroking the air with four 
clawed paws. The sleek body was covered 
with lacelike scales, white edged in pale blue, 
and the curved claws were deep cobalt. 
There were flat plates of scale similar to 
those about his head at each shoulder and 
hip. It had no wings nor was the spine ser- 
rated, but there played about the body a 
vague bright aura. 

As the little dragon's muscles bunched 
and he sank down upon his haunches, tail 
braced, he opened his mouth; instead of a 
hiss there was a sound like the chiming of 
small brass bells. Hsu Yuen Pao swung the 
birds in a gentle arc, tossing them several 
feet into the grove. The dragon sprang, 
covering incredible distance in a single leap, 
as though gravity had no meaning for him. 
And as he moved he seemed to grow. He 
was cat-sized when he landed upon the 
swallows and began quickly to devour them. 



With the dragon thus occupied, Yuen 
Pao, moving carefully, collected our few 
belongings and steered me with deliberate 
lack of hurry from the grove. 

We shortly came upon a road and fol- 
lowed it for a couple of hours in silence be- 
fore stopping to prepare the bamboo shoots 
still in my pockets. Yuen Pao was deeplv 
contemplative, but for the first time in my ad- 
mittedly limited experience he also seemed 
burdened by a weight of uncertainty. As we 
ate he told me a story. 

Lung is the greatest of all creatures liv- 
ing in the world besides man himself. But as 
there are lazy men, so too are there lazy 
dragons. They do not like to exert them- 
selves in the task of directing rain clouds 
about the sky. So they make themselves 
small and drop to earth where they hide in 
trees, under the roofs of houses and even in 
the clothing of unsuspecting men. Lung may 
also make himself invisible, as is usually the 
case when man is present. Lung Wang, the 
dragon king, learning of their desertion from 
duty, sends messengers into the world to 
search for them. These messengers are sel- 
dom seen, but when Lan Lung is found, the 
Lung Wang, in fury, raisesagreat storm, kill- 
ing the deserter with lightning bolts. This 
explains what might often seem a wanton 
destruction of life and property during such 
storms. 




The convenient logic with which tl 
stories usually ended invariably amused me 
and I made the mistake of smiling. Hsu Yuen 
Pao became indignant and proceeded to tell 
me more about dragons in the next hour than 
I truthfully cared to know. 

"It is a great puzzle, "he said as we final- 
ly walked the road again. "It is rare that lung 
allows himself to be seen by the eyes of mor- 
tal man. Such sightings are auspicious occa- 
sions and would normally be related directly 
to the emperor. But this is Lan Lung. It is not 
clear to me what this could mean," 

I squinted up at the bright, cloudless 
sky. What did anything mean in this place? 
My whole existence was a mystery, Alice 
down the rabbit hole. But as for the dragon, I 
had to admit the little fellow was fascinating. 
He had displayed an interesting degree of 
mutability and he did look strikingly tike the 
creatures I had seen in Chinese artworks. 
Hardly the beast of legend — but a little 
dragon and a lot of imagination, persistently 
applied, can leave behind legends larger than 
life. Hsu Yuen Pao believed this was a 
dragon capable of all he claimed for it. 



When I looked back, Yuen Pao was also 
contemplating the sky, 

"Yes," he said, "this must be so, 
though I am still unsure of what it means." 

I pleaded ignorance. 

"Lung is territorial," he said in an un- 
characteristically straightforward manner, 
still looking into the sky, "Each is responsible 
for the rainfall upon his own lands." The rest 
was obvious enough. This time I managed 
not to smile. 

The next two days on the road provided 
clear enough evidence that the tales we 
had heard in the hills were true. The 
drought deepened substantially as we 
entered the central plain and promised to 
worsen. The rice crop was already un- 
salvageable, it being too late to plant again 
even if rain came soon, and despair was 
growing over the other, less fragile sorts of 
produce. And everywhere the people shook 
their heads and wondered what they had 
done to offend such a powerful dragon, for 
the area of drought was extensive. 

In the villages we passed, Hsu Yuen Pao 
bartered geomancy and spells and prayers 
for roots and dried preserves and goat blad- 
der water bags (which were lighter to carry 
when full) and we amended our course to 
follow the streams and rivers more closely. 

On the evening of the fourth day we 
camped on the bank of a muddy stream. 
Yuen Pao dug for roots. He would forage as 
long as possible to save our stores of dried 
goods for harder times. Those he found were 
pulpy and shriveled, but we boiled them in 
the water I had spent over an hour straining 
again and again. It made a bitter, unpleasant 
broth. The tubers were nearly tasteless but 
edible, and we supplemented the meal with a 
small handful of dried plums. 

The fire was to have been extinguished 
as soon as the meal was prepared. Every- 
thing around us was dry as tinder and a fire 
of any size was perilous in the open. Yet 
when I moved to do so, Yuen Pao stopped 
me with a silent gesture. Peering intently into 
the dark, it was several seconds before I saw 
what he saw. At first I thought it was a sha- 
dow by my pack, but when it moved, two 
iridescent orange eyes flashed in the firelight 
and it had my complete attention. 

Yuen Pao took up his small copper bowl 
and his chopsticks and began to eat with the 
same deliberate, unhurried movements with 
which he had steered me from the bamboo 
grove. I did the same, dividing my attention 
between Yuen Pao and the flickering eyes. 
Eventually the creature moved into the light 
and I saw that this "dragon" too was white 
and roughly the same size as the other. This, 
Yuen Pao insisted, was because it was the 
same dragon. 

We finished our meal and sat watching 
the little lizard prowl about our belongings 
while Yuen Pao recited poetry (ostensibly to 
keep the two of us tranquil, since the dragon 
could not hear them) till the fire went out on 
its own. He told me to lie down and sleep, 
which I eventually managed to do, but for a 
long time I could see his silhouette against 
the stars as he sat in contemplation of his 
dragon. 

In the morning the little creature was 
gone, but Yuen Pao continued to conduct 



himself with the same care as the night be- 
fore. It was his belief that lung had been with 
us all along. He had simply been invisible as 
he may well have been at that very moment. 

I tried to take the matter seriously. For 
him this was an important event and he had 
been allowed to participate, if only he could 
understand in what way. Personally, I envi- 
sioned the little fellow either sleeping quietly 
beneath a rock or curled up among our food- 
stuffs out of the heat of the sun. The notion 
that he might be happily feasting on dried 
mushrooms and plums which we would later 
need bothered me a great deal, but Yuen Pao 
would not let me sort the contents of my 
pack before we set out. 

In the evening as I laid our small fire the 
dragon appeared again. I could not tell from 
where. He was simply there, sitting on my 
pack on the ground in the smothering, 
breezeless heat. Again he was white. I, too, 
was beginning to believe it was the same 
dragon. 

The next morning he was nowhere to be 
seen. This time, however, I sorted my pack. 
All our belongings were in order and no food 
had been disturbed. Perhaps he ate bugs, or 
a pair of swallows would last him a week. I 
did not bring the subject up with Yuen Pao. 

Again the night and morning were the 
same. We were getting used to him. Yuen 
Pao was no longer quite so careful in his 
movements, deciding that the key to the rid- 
dle was to wait for the ending. This day, 
however, at our noon meal (little more than 
mushrooms and lotus root soaked in stale 
water) our companion showed himself. I 
caught Yuen Pao staring at me and, looking 
down, 'found Lan Lung curled up in the sha- 
dow of my left knee. When we finally stood 
to go, the little dragon scampered to my 
pack and vanished beneath the flap. 

From that time on I seemed to take on a 
different dimension in Yuen Pao's eyes. But 
since I was never quite sure how he regarded 
my ghosthood, the new status was equally 
unclear. 

In the following weeks the dragon estab- 
lished himself as a permanent member of our 
party and my own special companion. It was 
impossible to say what attracted him to me. 
Perhaps my smell. Perhaps it was my ghost- 
hood. He and I were both fantasies, lung and 
gwai; dragons and ghosts; stories to frighten 
children into obedience. It seemed appropri- 
ate that the myths of our existence should 
keep each other company. 

He developed a habit of riding upon 
whatever part of my body shaded him from 
the sun, taking to my pack less and less fre- 
quently. Sometimes he would ride in one of 
the pockets of my loose, sleeveless coat or 
slither down my chest beneath my shirt and 
curl up next to my belly, a small bulge above 
my belt. He was smooth and dry to the touch 
and the strange aura rippling over his body 
(Yuen Pao called it dragon fire) was almost 
like a cool breeze against my skin. When he 
climbed a leg or arm or scampered across my 
shoulders, his tiny claws prickled and his 
whiskers tickled. He seemed to absorb the 
moisture of my sweat, leaving a trail of dry 
skin in his wake. He was virtually weightless. 

The hardships of the summer were in- 
credible. The people were ravaged as badly as 
the land and during the passage of the weeks 



became increasingly hostile to transients, 
guarding their stores of food and water 
jealously. It became impossible to barter 
anything we possessed for the things we 
needed, especially water. And to find a village 
with a good, deep, spring fed well was a great 
fortune. Obtaining fresh water, however, 
even from these places, became an exercise 
in stealth. 

At such rare times as we passed other 
travelers or stopped at a town or village, Lan 
Lung would disappear from sight. A bit 
addled by the heat, perhaps, I actually began 
to think of him as invisible myself. 

We made progress slowly. The heat 
became a weighty burden, requiring us to 
stop often for rest. The rivers were reduced 
to muddy sludge and many streams had van- 
ished entirely. For a time we took to traveling 
by night. Not that it was noticeably cooler, 
but it spared us the direct assault of the sun. 

I lost count of the weeks; could not 
make out even the slightest progress toward 
our goal. The mountains of the southern 
coast looked as far away as ever. Our rate of 
travel by then could have been little more 
than ten miles per day, and Yuen Pao guess- 
ed we had another five or six days to go. Two 
days out from the river there was so little 
food left that any attempt to ration it further 
was a useless illusion, and we finished it off 
without further pretense. The water was in 
no better shape but that illusion we maintain- 
ed as long as we could. 

Lan Lung had settled into my right 
pocket and for over a week had barely stir- 
red. When Yuen Pao and I shared our small 
bowl of water, a bit was always left for the lit- 
tle dragon who would crawl into the bowl 
and curl up into a ball rolling over and over in 
an attempt to bathe himself as best he could. 
On the evening our food ran out, I found it 
was necessary to help him. I carefully lifted 
him from my pocket with both hands, plac- 
ing him in the bowl. He moved a bit, lucking 
his tail feebly but did not roll over. When Hsu 
Yuen Pao was not looking, I wet my palm 
from the last goat bladder bag and stroked 
his dry body. He felt brittle to my touch and it 
seemed days since I had seen his aura about 
him. 

Looking up from the bowl, I found Yuen 
Pao watching me and realized he had seen 
what I had done. He did not disapprove. 
Days before, when I had mentioned that Lan 
Lung seemed to be suffering from thirst even 
more than we, he had explained that it was 
not thirst. It is the presence of moisture 
which preserves his powers of motion and 
mutability. Without this, lung becomes 
powerless and dies. 

The following evening there was not 
enoug h water to preserve that illusion either. 
tJ^e next two davs became an exercise 
I in placing one foot before the other. 
* We moved when we could move and 
stopped when we could do nothing else. I 
believed I had begun to hallucinate when we 
finally reached the foothills, where we at 
least found shade and the vaguest hint of 
motion in the air. The leaves on the trees 
were not shriveled here, and farther up the 
slopes the grass was almost green. We 
rested there, digging up a half decent root or 
two and locating a few edible berries. In my 
pocket Lan Lung was very still. 



The next morning we made our way 
slowly into the foothills. The heat was still 
oppressive and the going even slower since 
we now had to climb and frequently had to 
help each other, but the world seemed fresh- 
er around us and things were making a 
reasonably successful attempt to grow. 
There was hope of water here, if only we 
could find it. Yuen Pao crushed leaves and 
grasses and put the broken vegetation into 
my pocket with the little dragon in the vain 
hope that there might be enough moisture to 
preserve him. 

I wondered what would preservers, but 
Yuen Pao felt if there was any great import to 
this dragon it was our duty to do all that was 
possible. I think it kept him going tar longer 
than even the need to save his own life. As 
tor me, I could only reflect that dying the first 
time had been far easier than the second 
seemed destined to be. 

On the afternoon of the third day, amid 
green grass and cool shady trees, we 
came upon a swiftly flowing stream, 
very deep and clear. Snow fed, I realized, 
raising my copped hands that ached from the 
frigid water. The long prayed for moisture 
was more pain than comfort in my mouth 
and throat and transformed my stomach into 
a clutch of knots. 

Yuen Pao filled our two copper cooking 
bowls from the stream and set them on a 
warm rock in the sun. Then he set about fill- 
ing our water bags before drinking himself. 
As he did these things and I tried to contain 
my eagerness for the water, I felt a feeble 
stirring in my pocket. I reached in and care- 
fully removed Lan Lung with both hands, but 
Yuen Pao would not let me place him in one 
of the bowls. The water was still too cold for 
his enfeebled condition. So I put the limp lit- 
tle lizard back into my pocket and removed 
the garment, hanging it on a tree branch in 
the shade. When the water was warmed, 
Yuen Pao dribbled some of it into the pocket 
and he and I shared the rest, refilling the 
bowl before starting the next. By the time we 
had drunk two bowls each and given as 
many to my pocket, the activity within had 
increased and it began to swell even as the 
water soaked through and ran off. 

"It is enough," Yuen Pao said, "The 
belly is better filled with food." 

"If we had any," I agreed. 

"Look in the stream," he said. 

There were fish in the deep swiftness of 
the current. Brown and white and golden 
orange carp, large and sleek, flashed by too 
rapidly for my weary eyes to follow. There 
was an abundance of food within reach but 
how to obtain it? I had neither the strength 
for speed nor the courage against the bone 
biting cold to consider seriously trying to 
catch them by hand. 

Pointing out a far tree, Yuen Pao sent 
me to hang my dripping garment there, 
dragon and all, which I did while he took our 
water bags from the stream. As I watched, 
he raised both hands, gripping the crystal hilt 
above his right shoulder. Murmuring in low 
tones, eyes closed, he uttered an incantation 
I could not properly hear and slowly moved 
his hands up and forward. What he drew 
forth was not a sword. I was surprised to 
realize that in the time I had known him I had 
never actually seen this object before. 



Amazingly flexible, too long to be with- 
drawn straight, the shaft whispered from its 
sheath and sprang free, whipping back and 
forth in supple, diminishing strokes. A yard 
long, it was less thick at the hilt than the 
stem of a flower, tapering away to nothing. It 
shone in the sun, lustrous and brilliantly 
purple. Yuen Pao's face was set and serious 
as he gazed up and down the length of the 
shaft, his voice hushed and reverent as he 
said, "Dragon whisker." 

I thought of Lan Lung, his tiny whiskers 
tickling my neck or hand and was dumb- 
founded. 

Yuen Pao stepped to the bank, the 
crystal hilt in his right hand and murmured a 
few more barely audible words. Slipping the 
dragon whisker into deep water, he and I 
knelt upon the brink and watched. 

"Come, brother Yu," he said. "Come 
seek your master Lung Wang." 

The fish and eels came from all direc- 
tions, massing about the purple wand till it 
was no longer visible among the bodies. 
Even from downstream they came, fighting 
the current to reach the dragon, master of all 
scaled things upon the earth. They crushed 
together from bank to bank till there was 
barely room to move and those closest to the 
surface could be picked up by hand, barely 
wetting the fingers. 

That night we feasted on eel and fish 
roasted upon flat rocks about a large fire. 
Others were prepared for drying to be carried 
with us for future meals. Finally, fed and 
watered and rested, I began to feel human 
again as we slowly climbed the foothills, fol- 
lowing the course of the water upstream. 
Then there was a road and villages again, 
nestled in the mountain valleys. The people in 
this land had not suffered drought at all. The 
crop here was good, though it could not 
begin to make up for the devastation upon 
the plains, and the people were willing to 
barter for Yuen Pao's skills. There were 
many dialects here and they seemed to vary 
from valley to valley. Travelers were few, 
especially in the higher villages and, after an 
initial period of suspicion, for which my own 
appearance was no great help, the stories of 
our journey and the news of the lowlands 
were as much in demand as spells or medica- 
tions. 

Lan Lung once again took to riding 
upon my shoulder or occasionally on top of 
my head. As we reached the higher passes, 
however, he once again took to my pocket or 
to nestling beneath my shirt. It was cold here 
but Hsu Yuen Pao, in his infinite wisdom, 
proclaimed that was not the reason. We 
were too close to heaven here. The clouds 
were thickening on the southern horizon and 
puffy white ships sailed close over our heads 
The messengers of the Lung Wang would 
be watching. During the last days of our 
crossing Lan Lung rarely betrayed his 
presence even to me. Only when he rode in 
my pocket was I truly aware of him. 

Then we were climbing down. Though 
we were still high on the slopes, I was 
jubilant. It was almost like coming home. 

Yuen Pao was known in many of the vil- 
lages we passed, a fact I had come to realize 
was not particularly unusual. But one plea- 
sant, near autumn afternoon as we passed a 



mile or so from the outer wall of a large town, 
Yuen Pao stopped short in the road, nearly 
causing me to run him over. In my pocket, 
Lan Lung squirmed unhappily for a moment. 
Then we abruptly changed course, away 
from the wail and the town. He would not tell 
me why. At dusk, when we stopped to lay 
our fire, he told me a story from his seem- 
ingly inexhaustible fund. 

T^REWASONCEaTaoist monk (I wondered 
who) traveling through the mountain 
passes where he came upon six men 
bearing baskets of oranges northward — 
bound for a high official in the emperor's 
court. The baskets were very heavy, and in 
return for the protection of their company, 
the monk agreed to help bear the loads. 

He took a basket and carried it for an 
hour, then another and so on till all had been 
shared and the monk took his leave. 

Sometime later, at a lavish feast in 
honor of the emperor, the court official 
presented the fat oranges; a rare and expen- 
sive delicacy from the south. But when the 
emperor lifted one, it seemed oddly light, and 
when the skin was broken ... it was empty. 
Another was opened and another, but they 
were all the same. 

The bearers were sent for and charged 
upon pain of death to explain the mystery, 
whereupon they told of the Taoist monk and 
exclaimed that he had surely tricked them by 
magic. Since the peasants were too stupid to 
have conceived of such a skillful theft, the 
emperor was inclined to believe them. But 
rather than gaining favor, as the official had 
hoped, he found himself rewarded with a 
reduced income and the government of a 
poor province in the south, far from the court 
and power. 

Yuen Pao claimed to have been told the 
story by one of the bearers only a year or two 
before he found me, implying that all 
travelers in this land were suspect and monks 
most especially. Sometimes I wondered ex- 
actly how gullible he thought I was. 

It was not yet mid-morning of the next 
day when they caught up with us, even 
though we had been prudent enough to stay 
off the road — eight armed men on horse- 
back. Any argument would have been utter 
stupidity and, though we proceeded at a fast 
forced march, it was dusk before we reached 
the great gate of the town wall. Our belong- 
ings were confiscated and we spent the 
night in a hovel on the edge of town. By the 
smell and the consistency of the floor, it was a 
structure frequently used to house swine, 
which was a clear statement of what the 
magistrate thought of us. 

Lan Lung, who had been in my pocket 
that morning, was gone. He had vanished, as 
was his habit when strangers were about. 
But this time, Yuen Pao said, he would not 
return. Lung has no love for men and their 
communities. When I naively suggested he 
might join us again on the road, Yuen Pao 
did not reply. 

In the end, even I was astute enough to 
realize what a man seeking status would con- 
sider proper satisfaction for the affronted 
dignity of his emperor — though I still did not 
believe the business about the oranges. The 
fact that I had nothing to do with anything 
was unimportant. By now the magistrate 
had heard all he required from the nearby 



villages. In his mind I would be an integral 
part of Hsu Yuen Pao and his Taoist magic. 
There was no sleep that night. This time 
it was I who stood in the dark, watching the 
lightning far to the south as the monsoons 
gathered at the coast and wondering about 
omens and dragons. 

At dawn we were ushered out and made 
to stand waiting like penned sheep in the 
town square throughout the dismal grey 
morning and on into the afternoon. Awaiting 
Pei Tae Kwan's pleasure. Waiting to die at 
his leisure. 

It was unclear to everyone, including 
myself, if a ghost could be killed, though I 
had a pretty good notion by now. But as 
there was no answer, Pei Tae Kwan had will- 
ingly accepted for himself the honor of dis- 
covering the facts. 

The executioner arrived well .before 
noon and stood like a statue among his 
swords. A dozen guards, stoic and heavily 
armed, encircled us. Beyond them, curious 
villagers and bold little boys eyed us care- 
fully, pointing and talking loudly. Old women 
peered between the shoulders of the guards 
and railed at us. Yuen Pao was unmoved by 
the abuse. I simply did not understand the 
dialect. 

The murky overcast had grown dense 
and slate grey by early afternoon. The air was 
a sullen broth of humidity, and water drop- 
lets occasionally fell out of suspension; 
creating a fine mist. Though they threatened 
heavily, hanging low and pregnant over- 
head, the clouds did not open and drown us. 

Pei Tae Kwan showed his face at last 
about mid-afternoon, making his way slowly 
down the street from the ornate monumental 
gate. The men in the drum towers signalled 
his approach, and a wave of silence fell upon 
the villagers as he passed. He took his time 
quite deliberately. 

Entering the armed circle, he walked 
around slowly looking us over with obvious 
contempt. When he spoke, the tone of his 
voice was unmistakable — insulting, berat- 
ing, humiliating. Two servants who had fol- 
lowed him into the guarded circle now began 
rummaging through our belongings, which 
had been dumped on the ground several feet 
away. They smashed our rice bowls under 
foot and broke our chopsticks, throwing the 
pieces in our faces. They opened the boxes 
and containers of Yuen Pao at the magis- 
trates's command, spilling the contents to 
show his contempt for us. We could not buy 
him. We had hardly expected to. 

The boys opened the black lacquered 
container and spilled out the shards of 




variegated bone we had collected at The 
Dragon Gate. They broke the lid from the 
carved box of red cinnibar and emptied the 
pale yellow dust of ground dragon bones in- 
to the dirt, shouting and picking out small 
round rubies (petrified dragon blood Hsu 
Yuen Pao had called them}. 

Alarmed, the magistrate left us and took 
the gems from the boys, sending them out 
among the villagers. He laughed at Yuen 
Pao, placing the stones in a pocket of his 
grown, and called out mockingly as he kick- 
ed our belongings about. He spied the black 
scabbard and drew out the shining purple 
whisker which quivered in his hand like a stiff 
whip. There was silence for a moment, then 
more loud chatter. He bellowed, nolding the 
prize aloft for all to see, and looked at Hsu 
Yuen Pao, his eyes alight with greedy 
triumph. He brandished it like a sword and 
advanced upon us, kicking my pack out of 
his way. I saw it moved aside by his foot 
with an odd jerk which seemed more like a 
lurch to my eye, and it suddenly began to 
writhe and swell on the ground. 

At the collective cry from the crowd Pei 
Tae Kwan turned and, seeing the churning 
form within the cloth, beat at it with the 
dragon whisker, then backed away and fled 
beyond the line of his guards as the bag 
swelled again. 

Weapons drawn, the soldiers formed 
rank around the magistrate and one man 
sprang forward, striking a blow to the bag 
with his sword. There was a muffled sound 
like the distant toll of a bell, and the pack split 
to shreds as lung burst forth, growing to im- 
mense size in an instant. His serpentine body 
writhed, his tail lashing about, massive 
cowlike head held high, four clawed fore 
paws slashing air. He was an explosion of 
silver and blue in the darkness of afternoon, 
fifty feet long. His voice was the booming of 
a gong. In the damp air his breath shone 
bright. Dragon fire played over his body. 
Beneath his chin was the great blue pearl of 
the sea, and upon his left shoulder was a 
long, ragged wound of red. 

So rapidly did lung grow to his full, ter- 
rible size, that the soldier who had struck the 
blow was crushed beneath the scaled belly, 
without even the time to scream. Then lung 
leapt, much as I had seen him do that first day 
in the bamboo grove, but now his body blot- 
ted out the sky. When he landed among the 
terrified screams of the people, men died 
beneath his huge feet and trashing tail. The 
living fled in panic - villagers, soldiers and 
dignitaries— but the magistrate Pei Tae 
Kwan, the dragon whisker still clutched in 
his hand, lay beneath the right fore foot of 
the great saurian, a foot long claw embedded 
in his chest. 

The gong of his voice beat again, and 
lung moved around the tree, dragging the 
body of Pei a step or two before it dropped 
from his claw. I watched, numb but fasci- 
nated, only slowly becoming aware of a per- 
sistent tugging at my arm. When I looked at 
Yuen Pao, I was surprised to see the fear so 
plainly on his face, but I recognized it to be 
the fear of a prudent man. As the thunder 
began to rumble above and a hot wind came 
up at our backs, I looked once more at Lan 
Lung, my little pet, and realized the magni- 
tude of my folly. This was no pet, had never 



M 



been one. I perhaps, had been his. This was 
Tsao Lung, a great scaled dragon. Lord of 
Rain, Ruler of Rivers, Commander of Floods. 
The monsoons at our backs were under his 
control as were the clouds above our 
heads. He was deaf to the voice of man and 
paid no heed to the puniness of his life. Had I 
expected obedience from this creature? Af- 
fection? At that moment I would count 
myself lucky if he did not even notice me. 

The town wall preventing retreat, the 
dragon between us and the street, Yuen Pao 
and I moved slowly about the tree, keeping it 
between us and the dragon as we maneuver- 
ed toward the door of the nearest house. 

Lightning startled me and the dragon 
turned, watching us. His breath was a bright 
haze about his head and he favored his left 
leg. Out beyond the tree the house seemed 
very far away. Behind the great reptilian 
body we could see a knot of people, the 
boldest of the curious, peering from the 
shelter of the memorial gate. The lightning 
and thunder came again, and lung turned 
end to end, facing in our direction now. 
Body arched, head waving high, his voice 
boomed once more. Yuen Pao tensed 
beside me as my own muscles set for a bolt 
to the door — but there was no time to run. 
The dragon sprang into the air, his arc long 
and flat, looming ever huger as he hurtled 
toward us. 

jscLESJEBKEDin an attempt to run 
t I fell instead. The dragon 
dropped to the ground barely ten 
feet from me, twisting his head and body 
away to confront what I suddenly saw fall 
from the sky and land farther up the street. 
Another dragon, this one gold and orange. 
He was five clawed and the pearl beneath his 
chin was the color of honey. 

Sheltered behind the wall-like back of 
Lan Lung, we scrambled for the house. As 
we moved, he moved, leaping away up the 
street. A moment later there was an ear ring- 
ing crash of lightning, shattering the tree 
across the square barely a yard from the tip 
of his tail. 

I thought of Yuen Pao's story. Lan 
Lung, the lazy dragon. For desertion of his 
post and duty. Lung Wang would send mes- 
sengers to seek him and, when found, would 
destroy him with lightning bolts. 

The two dragons confronted each 
other, rearing on their hind legs, their breath 
at last turning to fire as the rain came. Their 
voices beat upon the ear, and when they leapt 
to each other, the ground shook beneath 
their bodies. They changed size rapidly and 
often, looking for advantage. Scales as big 
as a man's hand littered the street like fallen 
leaves as the dragons, red clawed, red fang- 
ed, rolled about in each other's embrace. 
Lightning struck twice more, gouging the 
road and shattering the wall. The rain poured 
down in dark sheets till all that could be seen 
was the fiery glow of their bodies and breath. 
They could no longer be told apart. 

Then, as Yuen Pao and I sheltered in the 
doorway of the house, the quaking earth 
stilled, the brightness diminished and there 
came a great quiet beneath the beating of the 
rain. 

Slowly, as the torrent thinned, a moun- 
tainous form could be seen lying in the street 



SCIENCE FOR SCIENCE FICTION 



No, You're Not Going to the Stars 

An Examination of the Realities of Manned Interstellar Flight 

by John Boardman, Ph.D. 



The relationship between science and 
science fiction is like a marriage between 
two compatible but strong-willed people. 
Things are generally congenial, but when the 
differences of Opinion develop, they are like- 
ly to be deep and difficult. 

Much science fiction takesa didactic ap- 
proach to the sciences. The author has some 
scientific principle or speculation which he or 
she wishes to present to the reading public, 
and uses the story as a teaching device. This 
is an approach that can be mishandled, and in 
the older science fiction, frequently was. 
Paper characterizations and unconvincing 
plots frequently decorated a fictional exposi- 
tion of a scientific idea. Hugo Gernsback's 
"classic" and unreadably awful novel Ralph 
124C41 + , nearly 70 years ago, was the father 
of this lineage, and he sought out similar 
stories when he founded the first science 
fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1929. 
In his honor, this approach to science fiction 
was later called "the Gernsback Delusion." 

But the opposite approach can be just 
as bad. Many of the early science fiction 
"pulp" writers sent stories around to all the 
popular fiction magazines: detective, 
Western, romance, sports, and fantasy. If a 
Story wouldn't sell as a Western, for exam- 
ple, the author would rewrite it with the cow- 
boy as a spaceman, the horse as a rocket- 
ship, the pistol as a ray-gun, and the sinister 
Indian chief as something green, Martian, 
and elaborately tentacled. 

Since literary rather than scientific con- 
siderations were important to this class of 
author, no boring scientific ideas were allow- 
ed to get in the way of the plot line. This ap- 
proach could be acceptable as long as the 
travel was limited to within the solar system. 
As of 1930 or 1940, the best astronomical in- 
formation seemed to indicate that Mars, 
Venus, and the satellites of Jupiter might be 
plausibly habitable by human beings, and 
therefore could have indigenous popula- 
tions. Hermann Oberth's orbital calculations 
were available, and so Northwest Smith plot- 
ted larceny along the canals of Mars while 
the blind Rhysling sang in Lunar cabarets 
and Ham Hamilton courted his English 
sweetheart through the steaming jungles of 
Venus. 

But in the 1930's new ground was 
broken, as E.E. Smith took the backyard 
spaceship Skylark completely out of our gal- 
axy, and Isaac Asimov and Edmond Hamil- 
ton then designed Galactic Empires. It was 
well-known by then that the velocity of light 
is a "speed limit" in the universe, and if you 
were limited to this slow crawl, it would take 
over four years to get to Alpha Centauri, the 
nearest star, and centuries to reach the sing- 
ing crystal mountains of a planet of 
Canopus. 



Here, science fiction parted company 
with science, producing not a few mutual re- 
criminations. The special theory of relativity, 
first published in 1905 by Albert Einstein, 
demonstrated that the velocity of light in a 
vacuum — 300,000 kilometers per second — 
is an absolute upper limit. Huge amounts of 
energy would have to be expended to get a 
particle even close to this value, which is 
conveniently called "c" for "constant" by 
physicists. An infinite amount of energy 
would have to be used to attain "c," let alone 
to exceed it. 

However, if science fiction writers lim- 
ited themselves to this slow crawl; no plot 
could ever take the hero outside the solar 
system. Several writers tried to work within 
this limitation. In 1941, Robert Heinlein's 
novelette Universe introduced the "genera- 
tion ship," a huge self-contained spaceship 
aboard which generations of human beings 
would live and die as the ship slowly plodded 
onward, at below the speed of light, toward 
its destination. An alternate form of this 
story, the "freezer ship," loaded the passen- 
gers aboard at cryogenic temperatures, to be 
thawed out automatically when the ship got 
to a habitable planet of another star. 

The same physical theory which makes 
"c" a speed limit, means that duration and 
length change with the velocity of the obser- 
ver. For example, a spaceship which travels 
from the Sun to Alpha Centauri at 99% of 
the speed of light would take over four and a 
third years by the clock of an observer on 
Earth. However, the elapsed time would only 
be 7 months for the spaceship's crew. Still 
faster velocities would shrink the travel time, 
as measured on the spaceship, even more 
drastically. A spaceship that travels at 99.9% 
of the speed of light could make a round trip 
to a planet 100 light years away in only 9 
years as measured by the spaceship's clocks. 
However, 200 years would have elapsed on 
Earth. 

There is raw material for a number of 
good stories in this effect, and several have 
been written. L. Ron Hubbard, who was a 
good science fiction writer before he found- 
ed Dianetics, handled the effects of this 
time-dilation very well in his 1950 novel To 
The Stars. Space travelers become a society 
unto themselves, detached from all planet- 
bound concerns. In some stories, such as 
Poul Anderson's Ghetto (1954), they 
become not an elite but the scorned scape- 
goats of planet-bound society. 

Still, the limitations imposed by the 
special theory of relativity bother many 
writers, including some with good scientific 
background such as Isaac Asimov, Larry 
Niven, and Jerry Pournelle. After all, every 
other type of adventure story has a hero who 
leaves for six months, fights all kinds of sinis- 




ter menaces, and returns home to find that 
his girlfriend has spent six months waiting 
for him. Why should this change, simply 
because the sinister menace is a slimy, 
megalomanic, intelligent octopus on the 
ninth planet of Rigel? 

Beating the Speed Limit 

Maybe a flaw can be found in the special 
theory of relativity? Poul Anderson, in his 
1958 novel We Have Fed Our Sea, attempted 
to find in Einstein's general theory of relativ- 
ity a way around the "speed limit." Unfortu- 
nately, at just about the time Anderson was 
writing this novel, Vladimir Aleksandrovich 
Fok was writing a paper which proved that 
"c" is just as much a speed limit in. the gen- 
eral theory as it is in the special theory. 

Other attempts to "get around" Ein- 
stein, by both physicists and science fiction 
writers, have been equally fruitless. A quar- 
ter-century after Einstein's death, as more ex- 
perimental tests of his ideas become tech- 
nically feasible, his ideas still stand against all 
opposition. 

The "space-warp" is a popular way to 
beat the "speed limit." In any number of 
stories, the inventor of a space-warp per- 
suades a skeptic by marking two dots on a 
piece of paper. "Observe," he says, "these 
dots are quite far apart. But now I bend the 
paper, and these two dots are now next to 
each other. My gizmo does the same thing 
with space — it warps it so that we are actu- 
ally quite near to our destination, the planet 
Fornak VIII." 

It sounds good. Unfortunately, we 
know from the general theory of relativity 
what it takes to "warp" space. What it takes 
is mass. Unless the inventor has someway to 
drag in a huge amount of mass from the hind 
end of the universe, space will obstinately re- 
main un warped. 

Some writers remain unconvinced. Ar- 
thur C. Clarke believes that a way will be 
found around the "speed limit." He bases 
this belief on nothing more than the fact 
that, in the past, many generally accepted 
scientific ideas have been abandoned in the 
face of better evidence. This, by itself, does 
not constitute a proof, or even a valid in- 
ference. 

How about tachyons? These are par- 
ticles that were first hypothesized by the 
physicist Gerald Feinberg about 20 years 
ago. They do indeed move faster than light 
— if, of course, they exist. But, although 
they have been a fertile field for speculation, 
no experimental evidence for their existence 
has ever been presented. Furthermore, even 
if they do exist, they are already moving 
faster than light, and an infinite amount of 
energy would be needed to slow them down 
to below "c." But if these particles cannot 
even interact with our normal universe of 
velocities below "c," there is no sense in 
speculating about them. Trying to infer the 
properties of tachyons by analogy with 
known particles is like trying to infer the 
breeding habits of unicorns by analogy with 
known ungulates. 

And so, on this issue, scientists and 
science fiction writers have come to a part- 
ing of the ways. If the exigencies of plot 
development require that Dexter Farnsworth 
spends three weeks in travel from Earth to 



the fourth planet of Sirius, then the writer 
hokes up a method of space travel that keeps 
Our Hero en route for three weeks. Never 
mind that light takes more than eight years to 
get from here to Sirius. (Also, never mind 
thai Sirius is highly unlikely to have planets. 
But that's a whole other story, which I hope 
to take up at a future date.) 

Since scientists like good adventure fic- 
tion as much as anyone else, few nasty let- 
ters from them are likely to follow publication 
of a story in which the Upchuck Horde takes a 
month to travel in from the Magellanic 
Clouds for the purposes of ravaging Earth. 
Science fiction editors are just as glad about 
this, because scientists are likely to write in 
with vigorous protests of errors of just about 
any other sort. If a flying creature with a 
mass of much more than 25 kilograms takes 
to the air on an Earth-like planet, the editor 
who published the story is likely to be hear- 
ing about it for weeks from engineers, physi- 
cists, biologists, physiologists, and ornithol- 
ogists. But the continuing tide of stories 
about faster-than-light travel has apparently 
deadened the critical impulse in science 
fiction readers. 

Problems with Simulations 

As with science-fiction stories, so with 
science-fiction war games. War gamers and 
war game designers fall into two categories: 
those who emphasize historical authenticity, 
and those who emphasize payability. SPI's 
Sinai game began play-testing before the 
fourth Arab-Israeli War, and the game's de- 
velopers found it a real problem to design a 
scenario that the Arabs could win, and Still 
avoid hoots of laughter from anyone who 
knew anything about the relative military 
capabilities of the two sides. (In one 1967 
scenario, the Arab victory conditions require 
that they not get beaten too badly). How- 
ever, no one at SPI figured that the Egyp- 
tians could knock down the Bar-Lev Line with 
firehoses, and as the play-testers incorpo- 
rated the events of the then-current 1973 
war, the game developed a little more 
balance. 

There is as yet no question of "histori- 
cal" authenticity in science fiction war 
games. However, scientific authenticity is 
also worth discussing in game development. 
StarForce: Alpha Centauri and its succes- 
sors at SPI have assumed an instantaneous 
teleportation system of space travel, com- 
parable to "jaunting" introduced by Alfred 
Besterin his 1956 classic The Stars My Desti- 
nation. Similarly, the science fictional war 
games of other firms either invoke methods 
of space travel beyond the present under- 
standing of physics, or simply do not men- 
tion the matter at all. And SPI's BattleFhet 
Mars, limiting itself to the solar system, can 
get along with the "old-fashioned" nuclear- 
powered reaction drive. 

There are still some interstellar scena- 
rios, either for science fiction stories or for 
war games, that remain scientifically practic- 
able. Most nations make war with the hope 
that their conquests can bring back raw ma- 
terials, finished products, precious metals, 
or slaves to be of use to the home country. 
Interstellar distances make this imprac- 
ticable, unless you want to hypothesize a 
race whose life is measured in millenia. But a 
horde of nomads or exiles, looking for a 



place to settle down, loot, and rule could be 
an acceptable set of villains within the limita- 
tions of relativity. The Xenophobes of Star- 
Force: Alpha Centauri are an example of this 
sort. Or the enemy may not be alive at all. 
Imagine a pathological warrior race that gets 
jumped in desperate self-defense by its past 
and projected victims. Going down under 
the combined assault (a thing which hap- 
pens to most warrior races, sooner or later), 
they build an army of warrior robots with the 
one directive to kill anything alive, anywhere 
in the universe. Having exterminated the 
destroyers of the warrior race, this horde 
Storms through the Galaxy {sound familiar?) 
One day, they arrive at Earth, . . 
A Slow Jaunt 

Still, most anticipations of space travel 
assume that Our Heroes will get into their 
interstellar ships at or near Earth, go wander- 
ing off across light years of space, and even- 
tually return in their own lifetimes and not 
significantly older by the ship's clocks. In 
order to do this, they first have to speed up 
their ships to a suitably high velocity. This 
means that the ships would have to be accel- 
erated, and here slightly different dilations of 
time take place from those we have already 
discussed. Let us suppose that the ship 
begins at rest, on Earth. (Oh, I know that 
Earth isn't at rest, but its orbital velocity 
around the Sun is something like 30 kilome- 
ters a second, which is about .0001 that of 
light.) It then accelerates until it reaches 
some large fraction of "c." This is likely to 
take quite a bit of time, so we'll assume that 
the ship travels with the same acceleration 
that we experience daily, right here on Earth, 
from gravity — 9.8 meters per second per se- 
cond. In astronomical terms, this is 1 .03 light 
years per year per year. Now, how much 
time will be required for the ship to get to 
some pre-selected fraction of "c," both by 
Earth's clocks and by the ship's? And how 
far will the ship have traveled by the time it 
reaches this velocity? See Table 1 for ex- 
amples. 

At last we seem to be getting some- 
where. Considering! that Ferdinand Magel- 
lan's expedition took three years to get 
around the Earth, times like these seem to be 
reasonable. Of course, Magellan lost his own 
life, four of his five ships were lost, and very 
few of his crewmen ever saw Spain again. 
But the expedition returned a handsome pro- 
fit to its backers, and that seems to be what 
most people want out of the space program. 

Just to have a number to talk about, let 
us assume that a star ship makes a round trip 
to a planet 20 light years away. This is a good 
guess, as the nearest single sun-like star is 
Delta Pavonis, at approximately this dis- 
tance. Since we already know of one single 
sun-like star which possesses a habitable 
planet - the Sun itself - Delta Pavonis 
seems a good object for further specualtion. 

So we accelerate our ship at "one gee" 
until it is at some desirably large fraction of 
light speed, and then coast under "weight- 
lessness" until it's time to decelerate at "one 
gee" to rest, and see if anyone near Delta 
Pavonis wants to buy our baubles, bangles, 
and beads. (Columbus found that hawks' 
bells were highly prized by the West Indians. 
With falconry currently undergoing a revival, 
this might not be a bad idea for an item of 



trade.) Then, after loading up with raw 
materials, we head back the same way. How 
long would this take, by Earth clocks and by 
ship clocks? See Table II. 

However, the time required for the 
round trip will not be the most important 
consideration for the planners of the voyage. 
The energy required to produce this acceler- 
ation and deceleration will be the biggest 
problem involved in planning interstellar tra- 
vel. Let us assume the most energetic nuc- 
lear reaction available in contemporary phy- 
sics — the complete annihilation of ordinary 
matter with an equal mass of anti-matter. 
This will produce an enormous flux of gam- 
ma radiation, which can be expelled out the 
back of the spaceship, rocket-style, to push 
it forward. (Be careful that nothing impor- 
tant, such as the Earth, is in the way of that 
blast of gamma rays.) 



Energy Crisis 

Where you get the anti-matter is a good 
question in itself. There may be chunks of it 
lying around some corner of the universe, 
though this appears increasingly unlikely. 
But it can always be created, together with 
an equal mass of ordinary matter, out of 
whatever source of energy you have 
available near your home base. It won't 
come cheap, though. To make one kilogram 
of anti-matter tequires 5704 megawatts of 
power, operating for one year — about 2.5% 
of U.S. 1976 electric power output. (One 
ton = about 25 years of U.S. electricity pro- 
duction.) Then, once you have the anti- 
matter, it has to be suspended magnetically 
in a vacuum to prevent premature ignition by 
contact with ordinary matter. The 
spaceship's fuel will consist of equal 
amounts of matter and anti-matter. Difficult 
as this reaction will be to arrange and con- 



TABLE I: Kinematics of a Space Ship that Accelerates 
from Rest at 9.8 m/sec 2 



Final 
velocity 
as fraction 
of c 



Time required 

by clock on 
Earth Ship 



0.1 


.10 


.10 


0.005 


1.11 


0.5 


.56 


.53 


0.150 


1.73 


0.6 


.73 


.67 


0.242 


2.00 


0.7 


.95 


.84 


0.389 


2.38 


0.8 


1.03 


.85 


0.647 


3.00 


0.9 


2.00 


1.43 


1.26 


4.36 


0.99 


6.81 


2.57 


5.91 


14.10 


0.996 


10.82 


2.99 


9.89 


22.30 


0.999 


21.70 


3.69 


20.70 


44.70 



trol, it is far more energetic than any mere 
nuclear fusion. 

If we assume this method of propulsion, 
the "Mass Ratio" columns of Tables I and II 
apply. This is the ratio of the initial mass of 
fuel plus payload, to the final mass after all 
the fuel has been expended. This ratio rises 
sharply as the maximum velocity rises, to the 
place where a small increase in velocity may 
not be worth the huge additional expenditure 
in fuel. 

If we cannot count on finding any filling 
stations away from Earth, then the fuel re- 



The Superf uel 
and Its Cost 

The most efficient fuel possible re- 
quires a truly staggering amount of 
energy to produce. Imagine, if you might, 
the total annual energy production of the 
United States, including all forms of 
energy — electrical, chemical, fossil fuel 
— and that all this energy is available to 
turn into matter/anti-matter fuel for our 
starship. Furthermore, presume that this 
can be done with 100% efficiency (a very 
big presumption since few processes are 
even 50% efficient). How much fuel 
could we then produce in one U.S. 
Energy Year (USEY)? 

Less than one ton (880 kilograms, to 
be exact). 

So, to determine how many USEY's 
would be required to send a payload of a 
given mass out to the planet of a nearby 
star and then back home, we should 
multiply the mass of the ship by one of the 
mass ratios indicated on Table II. The key 
controlling factor is the crew, particularly 
their lifespan and endurance under long 
confii 



If we suppose a starship no more 
massive than the Apollo Lunar mission 
configuration (about 20 metric tons, 
minus the service module) and we don't 
want the crew to spend more than 
twenty-five years in such an absurdly 
confined space, then the distance you 
can travel most efficiently is ten light 
years (roundtrip) at about 0.5 c, lasting 
18.4 years ship's time. This distance is 
just a little more than the roundtrip to the 
nearest star system. Alpha Centauri. The 
mass ratio is nine. 

The energy cost is 204.5 USEY's. 

Keep in mind that all the above 
presumes perfect efficiency, a ridiculous- 
ly small payload, and a very patient, long- 
suffering crew (who won't eat much). 
The upshot is that, barring a "miracle," 
manned travel to the stars doesn't seem 
to be a very likely possibility. Despite the 
optimistic homilies one cares to cite con- 
cerning the "infinite" potentials of 
science, the fact remains that there are 
hard and fast realities and limits to 
everything we do or could hope to do. 



quired for the return trip must be carted 
along. This gives us the Mass Ratio for the 
second to last column in Table II. For exam- 
ple, to take a 5- ton payload on a 20 light year 
round trip with a maximum velocity of 0.99c, 
we would need a blast-off mass of 198,000 
tons. And five tons is a very small estimate 
for the capsule. Equipment would be needed 
for separating matter from anti-matter, and 
for shielding the passengers against cosmic 
radiation. At a speed 99% that of light, every 
hydrogen atom at rest in interstellar space 
would be coming at the ship with 6 billion 
electron volts of kinetic energy. 

There might be some relief if we could 
arrange in advance for refueling. If we set 
up, in advance, a radio contact with our des- 
tination and if they have a technology that 
can produce anti-matter, then we can refuel 
when we get there. That will reduce the nec- 
essary Mass Ratio to the figures given in the 
"Refueling" column of Table II. Our five-ton 
payload would then need a blast-off mass of 
only about 1,000 tons. 

In the end, some government expert 
would have to run his finger down such a 
chart as Table II and see where the desirabili- 
ty of speed and the cost of fuel meet at an ac- 
ceptable value of maximum velocity. (It 
would have to be a government, too. Any 
private agency, corporation, faction, or 
foundation with the money and power to 
undertake interstellar flight would have long 
since become a government. (We have long 
since passed the era of Robert A. Heinlein's 
film Destination Moon, in which the first 
lunar flight was accomplished by passing the 
hat in a suitably filled board room.) I would 
be partial to some such figure as 0.8c. If an 
anti-matter technology is feasible at all, and 
the crew begins in their twenties, the expedi- 
tion comes within range of reasonable ex- 
pectation. However, a source of energy for 
producing all that anti-matter will still have to 
be found. 



TABLE II: Time in 


Years for Round Trips'of Various Durations 










Maximum 
velocity 
as fraction 


10 Light Years 

Earth Ship 
Time Time 


20 Light Years 
Earth Ship 


40 Light Years 

Earth Ship 
Time Time 


80 Light Years 

Earth Ship 
Time Time 


Mass ratio required 3 ... 

Refuel 
No at 
Refuel Destination 


0.1 
0.5 


100.2 

21.0 


99.7 

18.4 


200.2 

41.0 


199.2 

35.7 


400.0 
81.0 


398.0 
70.4 


800.0 

161.0 


796.0 

140.0 


1.49 


1.22 


9.00 


3.00 


0.6 


18.0 


14.7 


34.6 


28.1 


68.0 


54.7 


134.6 


108.0 


16.0 


4.00 


0.7 
0.8 


15.9 
14.4 


12.0 
9.8 


30.2 
26.9 


22.2 
17.3 


58.7 
51.9 


42.6 
32.3 


115.9 
101.9 


83.4 
62.3 


32.1 


5.67 


81.0 


9.00 


0.9 
0.96 


13.5 
13.3 


8.1 
7.6 


24.7 
23.7 


13.0 
10.5 


46.9 
44.6 


22.7 
16.3 


91.3 
86.2 


42.0 
28.0 


361 


19.0 


2,401 


49.0 


0.986 3 


- 


- 


23.6 


9.7 


43.9 


13.1 


84.4 


19.9 


20,100 


142 


0.99 


- 


- 


- 


- 


43.8 


12.6 


84.2 


18.3 


39,600 


199 


0.996 




- 






43.7 


12.1 


83.9 


15.7 


249,000 


499 


0.999 


" 


" 










83.8 


14.8 


4,000,000 


2,000 


1. A round trip includes travel time out and back; thus, a 10 then decelerate for the rest of the trip. 3. At the bottom end of 
light year trip would reach a point 5 light years away from the chart there is a variation in velocity reached. A ship under- 
Earth. 2. The mass ratio does not change over distance; i.e., a taking a 10 light year trip would be unable to achieve 0.999 c, 
tripof 10 light years or80 light years would use the same mass for it would not have enough time to slow down before 
ratio at 0.1 the speed of c. On all trips the ship is assumed to ac- reaching its target, 
celerate to the desired velocity, coast a certain distance, and 



By the Numbers... 



Suppose that a space ship begins 
from rest and accelerates at a constant 
acceleration g until it attains a velocity u. 
By the time the ship reaches u, it has 
traveled a distance x. The time that has 
elapsed in this process is t according to a 
planet's clock, and t' according to the 
ship's own clocks. If c is the velocity of 
light, these quantities are related by the 
follcaung equations: 



Ku 



c . , ,Ku 
— Sinh ' — , 



= ^(K-1) 



In metric units, c = 300,000,000 
meters per second, and g = 9.8 meters 
per second per second. Using these 
values will give x in meters, t and t' in 
seconds, and u in meters per second. If 
"universal units" are used, c = 1,g = 1.03 
light years per year per year, x is in light 
years, t and t' are in years, and u is a frac- 
tion of the velocity of light. 

Let us consider a round trip to a 
planet whose distance from Earth is d. 
The space ship will accelerate from rest to 
u, and continue at the constant velocity u 
until it is necessary to decelerate. Having 
reached its destination, it will return by 
the same process. Necessarily, d must be 
greater than or equal to 2x for this to be 
possible. Let T be the time for the round 
trip by a planet's clocks, and T' be the 
time by the ship's own clocks. Then: 



T = j^[2c 2 (K-1) + Kgd}, 

r =^sinh-'^ +R 2-[gd-2^K-1)l. 

The Mass Ratio m is the ratio of the 
initial mass of the ship plus fuel, to the 
mass of the ship alone. If the ship travels 
by matter-antimatter annihilation, emit- 
ting gamma rays and traveling on the 
reaction energy from these gamma rays, 
then m is given by the following equa- 



\c-u< 



This is the m required to get to u. For 

a round trip, with refueling at the destina- 
tion, the Mass Ratio is m*. Without 
refueling at the destination, it is m*. ■ ■ 



Dragon... Ghost ^M/r« ra (i 

— motionless, tireless — and beyond it, 
burning faintly, another draqon stood, its 
head waving slowly in the air, upturned to 
the clouds. 

I wiped rain from my eyes, straining for 
a glimpse of color through the sheets of 
grey. I could not help but care. I had been his 
refuge till the end, even after I believed he 
had left me, and, in spite of all I had just 
seen, if he had scampered, mouse-sized, 
toward the door where I hid, I would have 
sheltered him again, loolish as it doubtlessly 
would have been. But in the thinning rain I 
could identify neither the dead dragon nor 
the live one. 

Then the final bolt of lightning struck. 

Hours later, when the rain stopped, 
there was not so much as a splintered bone 



in the muddy, cratered street. But beneath 
the blasted tree Yuen Pao found one large 
round scale of silver scalloped in blue. I wear 
it on a braided cord about my neck like an 
amulet. It marks me, though that is hardly 
necessary these days. Word of mouth travels 
swiftly in this land. The villagers saw from 
whence the dragon came. They knew whose 
pack it was. It was never established whether 
or not a ghost could die a second death (and 
I am still not sore about the oranges) but no 
one questioned the power of ghostly magic. 
It has been mainly to my advantage. I sup- 
pose; only occasionally have I resented it. I 
wear the reputation as I wear my "amulet" 
and the name the people gave me. 

I am called Lung Gwai. 

The Dragon Ghost. 





S*B* 



"**&, 



^VZ+fr 



«*\-*..i«* 



Gangsters 



by Henrik Nordlie 



A/alke 



disorder of the crumbling tenement bio* 

his eyes moved down the street to the nar- "Look. I t 

row alleyway that led to the loading dock of lunch; nobody c 

his loft building. He swore under his breath. "Move it or I'll mo 1 

A u^llnw van blocked the access from the "Nnmrinn'tmnrh 

■ damned stupid baker had parked s. 

n is ueuvery truck in "his spot" again. Ever IViy sun, neyui uiomai 

since moving into the long unoccupied "Move immediate 



ire was no time for this neigh- 



icked, the truck dnver had c 



ed his coveralls and felt his key ring as the 
yellow vehicle bucked forward out of the 
tight parking space. Three carlengths up the 
street, the artist recklessly swerved the 
baker's truck into a vacant spot. The van 
lurched as it stopped and a parking light 
crunched into the car ahead of it. Jumping 
out, the artist slammed the van door shut 
just as his delivery pulled into the alley. 

"Hey criminal, you break my door. You 
break my light. Come back," Peretti com- 
plained as he bent to look at his vehicle's 
front end. 

The artist ignored the shouts of the red- 
faced baker as the crates of circuit boards 
were loaded on a dolly by the truckman. He 
signed the bill of lading and swiftly rolled the 
shipment throught the freight door, banging 
it shut behind him. 

As the angry baker rushed to the front 
door of the loft building and raised his fist to 
hammer on it, the artist appeared in the en- 
trance. He held ten twenty dollar bills in his 
hand and had his face fixed in a cold smile. 

"For your damages. Relax, it's not so 
bad." Then he laughed in a stacatto barking 
noise as he threw the money down the steps 
past the wild-eyed Peretti. 

The artist was delighted at the way the 
old man unthinkingly scrabbled for the air- 
borne bills. The usual street audience was 
struck silent by this humiliation of the gasp- 
ing, confused baker. Never stopping his yips 
of laughter, the artist picked up his grocery 
bags, slammed shut the metal clad front 
door of the loft, and threw its bolt with a 
thunk that announced the end of this round 
of confrontation. 

Methodically he placed the crates near 
each appropriate subassembly of his 
"sculpture." Although he was vastly ex- 
cited, he didn't rush or tear into the shipment 
before it had all been initially placed. His 
strong fingers easily pried open the steel 
packing bands and pulled apart heavy cop- 
per industrial staples on the first case. He 
reached inside carefully and with deliberate 
slowness extracted the first slim corrugated 
container. His sharp nail neatly slit open the 
top and revealed a glistening froth of plastic 
bubble- packing individually wound around 
each of four heavy anti-static envelopes He 
undressed the rightmost envelope and pried 
open its self-sealing end 

The pale green board slid out into his 
large, long-fingered hand. The silvery circuit 
tracings glinted in the work lights that were 
hung all around. Little chips and brightly col- 
ored resistors ornamented the surface of the 
incredibly complex board. Lovingly, he slid 
the unit into the brass colored frame of the 
first subassembly. 

"Step one of the last phase," he an- 
nounced to no one. 

His voice echoed in the large, circular 
working space he had cut out of the first 
three stories of the old. cement floored 
building. Bright new insulated structural 
stringers sprung from the exposed steelwork 
of the lofts. They connected and supported a 
spidery cylindrical framework that rose some 
15 meters, up through the layers of the 
building. The old baker's slightly mangled 
van could easily have been driven between 
the vertical supports and parked within the 
circle of the base. 



The cylinder and its supports occupied 
the center third of the whole building. 
Cinderblock walls separated its space from 
the front and rear on each floor, and each of 
these walls had but a single steel clad door in 
its center. 

The artist had supplemented the already 
muscular electrical lines with several connec- 
tions of his own devising, made without 
benefit of Con Edison's approval. The main 
cables ribbed the ground floor and con- 
nected to step-up transformers and voltage 
regulators located near the base of each of 
the cylinder's four main vertical structural 
members. 

When the time comes, he thought, the 
lower half of this island is going to black out 
— which itself was part of the plan. 

As he completed the ceremony of in- 
serting the first circuit board, he breathed a 
sort of sigh and massaged the tense muscles 
of his neck in an almost human gesture. 

"Time for a little justifiable self- 
indulgence," he said aloud. Leaving the 
boards of the open packing crate, he walked 
through to the freight elevator. It thrummed 
down into place as he released the switch on 
his remote controller. The lights shining 
through its gate strobed across his features 
as he rose into the gloom of the sealed third- 
floor segment of the shaft. He slid aside the 
safety gate of the car and faced the 
cinderblock-sealed portal. Taking off his 
electric wrist watch, he reversed the expan- 
sion band and pressed all three control studs 
at once. Something hummed behind the 
wall, and the cinderblocks emitted a soft blue 
glow, becoming transparent as they did so. 
The artist walked through the glow into the 
space beyond. 

Now he was contained in a room filled 
with intense, deep blue light. Floor joined 
wall seamlessly and undetectably, making 
the space seem vast, even though it was no 
more than six meters square. In the center of 
the room was a transparent, green, hex- 
agonal column rising almost to the ceiling. 
One face of the booth-like column had many 
gleaming, glassy planes intersecting its sur- 
face along its entire height. Striding to that 
side, he reached into one of the seemingly 
sealed facets and withdrew a slender tool 
about the size and shape of a dental mirror. 
The disk on its end glowed orange when he 
put it to his forehead. His mask fell off and 
made a flopping noise as he caught it with his 
other hand. He flashed a delighted expres- 
sion as he glimpsed his reflection in the 
cabinet. 

"Good to see you again," he joked, 
making the barking noise. Quickly he strip- 
ped off his clothes and, in turn, the pseudo- 
human skin and appliances underneath until 
he was completely himself. 

Standing before the plain, semi- 
transparent side of the cabinet, he admired 
his image: pure white, translucent skin tinted 
blue by the light; a fine tracery of purple 
veins moving and pulsing just under the sur- 
face. Powerful dark cords of muscle rippled 
in his long arms and legs. 

Fingers and toes flexing, he peeled back 
his lips and hosed out his dark, toothless 
mouth with a little, flexible spigot he drew 
from the green glassy structure. A black li- 
quid sluiced out the side of his mouth; a 



hacking and blowing noise came from the 
flapped slit between his orange eyes as he 
sucked in. 

Turning sideways, he struck himself in 
the middle of his torso and whispered to his 
reflection, "Even with all of the chem- 
change and bio-tailoring you could Still kill a 
friend or two in an Endgame." 

He spat and then stepped into the 
booth-like half of the cabinet, reaching 
overhead to hit its ceiling. The panes of its 
opening closed in one smooth, practiced 
motion. Fans producing a mini-cyclone blew 
pumice and sand against his body while he 
groaned in satisfaction. Reaching up again, 
he switched off the grit and buffeted his 
body with air at 90° C. Stepping out into the 
relative coolness of the room, the large white 
being reeled a wire from the side of the 
cabinet. He clipped this to a wattle that hung 
from his lower belly just above his featureless 
crotch. As he squatted on the floor, his eyes 
glazed over and his mouth hung open loose- 
ly. He remained in that state for exactly 104 
minutes before he was awakened by the in- 
truder alarm. 

A_do barone looked up over his half- 
glasses at the two large young men 
who stood in front of his marble top- 
ped desk. The marble top was one of Aldo's 
few concessions to conspicuous consump- 
tion. In his personal behavior, and in most of 
his business dealings, he was conservative, 
fair, and not given to rashness and temper. 
He was displaying a little temper now, 
however. 

"This very day my mother's brother was 
pushed around — disgraced! And in our own 
neighborhood!" He swept a hand towards 
the window of his third floor office. Placing 
both his be-ringed hands on the desk top 
with elaborate care, he lowered his voice to 
almost a purr. "I want the man responsible 
informed of to whom he should show 
respect. I want this man to publicly apologize 
to Carlo Peretti and give his solemn word 
never to cause any trouble in the 
neighborhood any more." 

"How much difficulty should he have in 
learning this respect, Mr. Barone?" asked 
the larger of the two young men. 

"You be careful and smart, Johnny. I 
don't want this artist to be hurt unnecessari- 
ly. Absolutely no rough stuff except a bend 
of the arm to show you're serious - and that 
only if this guy is as stupid as they say. No 
repeats of that laundry number " 

Johnny tried to look embarrassed and 
contrite. A commercial laundry owner had 
resisted Mr. Barone's business offers with 
regard to his restaurants, and Johnny stuff- 
ed the man into one of his own machines. 
The big young man figured that Barone liked 
him for it in spite of what he said, knowing it 
to be a sign of the tremendous loyalty 
Johnny Case felt for the low-key leader of 
the small organization. As a gesture of 
recognition of his temper problem, Case ask- 
ed, "You want us to go see him naked, Mr. 
Barone?" He held out his heavy pistol butt- 
first as if making an offering. 

Barone took off his glasses and came 
around the desk to hug his two employees 
around the shoulders, drawing them almost 
into a huddle. "No, no, no. Georgie, 
Johnny, you two I trust. You're my best. 



God took away my Julio to give me two sons 
in his place." 

Barone coughed and pinched his nose, 
overcome with his own sentiments. "Go, 
go," he said, "and be careful yourselves. 
Maybe this guy'snuts, hah?" 

"Sure thing, Mr. Barone," nodded 
George, "an' if we're through by ten, we'll 
stop by personal and let you know the 
score." 

Their well-made shoes clicked down the 
old tile hallway, and they ran down the steps 
instead of waiting for ihe building's sluggish 
elevator. 

In the blue of the room, the stillness was 
broken by a small pinging noise as the 
wattle clip released in response to the 
alarm. With amazing speed the naked, pale 
creature re-entered its man-suit while acti- 
vating the molecular doorway to the ele- 
vator. Maybe some more of those ignorant 
children want another scare, he thought as 
he rode down the elevator, tossing his head 
back to seat the teeth and mouth-wall appli- 
ance. In the past when the outer perimeter of 
his building was violated, it had always turn- 
ed out to be children or young adults show- 
ing off their courage to friends outside. A 
shout or a beam of light had usually sufficed 
to scare them away. The freight entrance 
was where they usually broke in. This time it 
was in the front. 

On the ground floor, he dimmed the 
work lights and activated a viewing screen 
that showed him the front-third of the 
building - the part that contained his mock 
living quarters. The wide spectrum screen 
showed two large adult males dressed in 
business suits and topcoats. Under their 
suits, the screen showed an outline he 
recognized. Projectile guns. Unsophisticated 
weapons, but deadly in close fighting. The 
men looked physically strong as well. The 
taller was only half a head shorter than he. 

The manner in which they stalked 
through the darkened quarters made the 
artist uncomfortable. They were profes- 
sional. Calm, but alert. Could it be that the 
native police suspected him of some sort of 
illegal activity? Had the paper camouflage 
covering his industrial theft been 
penetrated? Telling himself to stop assuming 
the worst, he entered through the false back 
of the closet just before the taller human 
opened it. 

"You're in clear violation of the law," he 
declared, stepping out into the room. The 
young man tost his composure only momen- 
tarily. 

"We come to talk to you about com- 
munity relations and like that," said Johnny 
Case, jabbing a gloved finger into the artist's 
chest. 

"Get out of my building or I'll call the 
police." 

"No, I don't think you wanta do that," 
George said from across the room. As the 
artist faced the speaker, he noticed the first 
one move behind him. He felt his upper arms 
being grabbed as the man across the room 
came towards him. 

"Now here's what you are gonna. . ." 
The artist kicked out and caught the 
speaker between the legs. Simultaneously, 
he jabbed his elbow backwards into the 



chest of the man holding his arms. Both 
blows were extremely powerful in human 
terms. For an instant, he thought he'd put 
both of them down for good, but no, the one 
he had elbowed came up from the floor, 
swinging his fist at the artist's head and 
bringing his left knee up into the groin. 

The blow to the head jarred him but the 
knee simply pushed him further out into the 
center of the room. The artist reached down, 
easily picked up George Aletta from the floor 
and simply threw the man at the other in- 
truder. Johnny was knocked back into the 
closet, falling onto a heap of clothes. He saw 
George's head lifelessly looking at him from 
top of an obviously broken neck. Even Mr. 
Barone would use his gun now, thought 
Case. 

In the hyper time of his fighting mode, 
the artist saw the large pistol being drawn 
out of the tangle of the big man's coat. To 
ruin the aim, he made a rapid horizontal 
move. Two shots smashed into the plaster 
behind him. He sprang and caught the gun- 
man by the throat with one hand and by the 
wrist with the other. Johnny Case made a lit- 
tle noise of regret and died. 

Rocking back on his haunches, the vic- 
tor cleared his lungs and consciously ad- 
justed his body chemistry from fighting 
mode. His hands were spasming slightly, 
something that they would normally never 
do, had he not been altered somewhat to 
survive on this world. Picking up both in- 
truders, one under either arm, the artist ac- 
tivated the main door to the inner chamber. 
He dropped the bodies near the framework 
and considered the situation. If he finished 
the first stage of the final assembly now, 
he'd have a field into which he could drop the 
bodies without a trace. Happy to have a 
goal, he hummed a passage from one of his 
native atonal schemes as he set to work. 

"Well, I knew you had something going 
down, Mr. Barone," the phone voice said, 
"an' I saw your guys go in...'n I heard these 
shots an' nobody comes out." Aldo Barone 
just looked at the phone in his hand with 
disbelief. "An' I figured you'd wanta know 
right away, Mr, Barone, "said the little voice. 
"You there?" 

Barone hung up. 

The four men playing cards in the back of 
the restaurant rose quickly as Barone 
approached. 

"I have an order that needs to be filled 
immediately," he said. 

"What style you want this Mr. Barone?" 

"The old style, all the way. I want you to 
bring the merchandise out to me in the street 
and I'll take delivery personally." 

The men at the table stared at each 
other in wonder. Aldo Barone? Personally? 
But they recognized the look on the older 
man's face and nodded. 

"Right away, Mr. Barone." 

Two of the men trotted down the steps 
to the basement while the others shooed out 
the lingering diners at the front tables. 
Barone filled in his staff with what had ap- 
parently happened to George and Johnny. 

"All due respect, Mr. Barone, but I 
always said Johnny Case had a habit of go- 
ing into things half-cocked, kinda." When he 
saw the stony glare that greeted this ap- 



praisal, he quickly added, "But don't you 
worry, we'll make it good for Johnny and 
George. Nobody's gonna get away with 
nothin'. You'll see." 

The two men came up from the base- 
ment and opened heavy cases on two tables. 
Inside were four straight-clip Thompson sub- 
machine guns and two Walther P-38 
automatic pistols. 

"Best one's for you, Mr. Barone," said 
the staff man as he handed him a loaded 
Walther butt first. 

"Let's make it quick and no mistakes," 
ordered the aging gang leader. The five men 
matter-of-factly walked out to the waiting 
limousine, making little effort to conceal the 
weapons. 

He had only to install and check two 
more boards on the last column before 
power could be put into the grid and the 
bodies dumped. There were still many hours 
of work left before-the gate could be tuned 
accurately enough to link with its twin twen- 
ty light years away, and more days of testing 
before full power was applied. Only then 
could members of his consortium transfer 
along with their heavy weapons. Once the 
380 shareholders had come across, this 
world would fall in a matter of days. 

We'll only need to hold it hostage for 
two years before the Council meets, pays the 
ransom to our accounts and allows us to 
dissolve as a group. What a relief to be un- 
burdened of the obligation of administration. 
He'd personally invested most of his eco- 
group's positive funds in designing and pur- 
chasing the equipment and energy for this 
initial landing. The years of his life he'd 
wasted in dormancy, getting here in a 
normal-space body capsule, arriving virtually 
naked on a hostile world. Too bad that the 
nearest gate was so far away and the 
su blight payload cost was so high. 

The irony was, once they got through 
the ransom period, the inhabitants of this 
world would be accepted as provisional 
citizens and allowed to build their own ac- 
counts in combat against organized forces. 
With the pugnaciousness of these people, it 
would take only three or four major losses 
before they'd gain enough experience to win 
a few money yielding skirmishes. They'd be 
able to pay off, recover, and fit in, most like- 
ly. Of course, they'd have to trade popula- 
tion for time, but that's the way it always was 
when some minor race entered the 
mainstream. 

He and his group of protectors wouldn't 
get any real thanks, of course. Not that they 
did it for the glory. It was the money and the 
relief from Endgame challenges that it 
bought. Still and all, one would think that a 
ransomed race would show some gratitude 
every once in a while. Look at the wonderful 
automated metal and semiconductor plants 
he'dff/ventheml Of course when theL'cleth 
entities bound into the software matured and 
began to fabricate themselves, there might 
be a few difficulties — but doesn't every- 
thing have a consequence and a price? And, 
he had to fund his stay here somehow, didn't 
he? 

He hummed as he slid the last board into 
place and applied the checking matrix. 
Perfect. Nothing like a plant driven by a 
L'cleth fetus for accuracy. The urge for 



perfection and consequent assurance of a 
properly fabricated birth found its way into 
every aspect of the factory's function. Were 
it not for the severe drawbacks of coming to 
term, L'clethi would be routinely used on 
civilized worlds. 

He should credit the natives loo, he 
reluctantly admitted. It was their semi- 
conductor and metals technology that lured 
his group here in the first place. The long- 
scan had shown that the little beings were 
damn clever in some things. Oddly enough, 
they were nowhere near the theoretical basis 
for travel by scan gate. And their power 
generation systems were laughable. Actual- 
ly, in most areas they were losers and they 
deserved to be oppressed for a couple of 
years. 

The application of partial power to the 
grid resulted in a satisfying discontinuity in 
the center of the latticework cylinder. It was 
in a random roll of course, drunkenly scan- 
ning all over hell-and-gone for a hundred 
light years or more. But it was more than 
adequate for waste disposal. One at a time 
he picked up the dead bodies of Aldo 
Barone's best boys and flung them into the 
galaxy. After punching up a check run on the 
test control board, he left the gate under 
power and went to the front of the building 
to clean up the signs of the disturbance. A 
weapon filled his right hand as he made his 
rounds through the gloom. He spotted the 
day's groceries sitting on the hall table. Tak- 
ing them to the kitchen, he traded them for 
the ones on the shelves and in the 
refrigerator. The "old" food was opened and 
flushed down the toilet. No sense getting 
careless this late in the game, he thought. 

##^r^fciu.v. you and tommy go round the back 
^^J — Vinny an' me will go in front. I give 
^** ya 'til thirty to get back an' go." Aldo 
Barone watched his men move silently 
towards their jump-off points. He sighed and 
sat back in the limo's plush upholstery. The 
heavy Walther came to his hand, and he pull- 
ed back and released the slide to jack the first 
round into the chamber. 

They could see where Johnny and 
George had wired the bolt on the front door 
and jimmied the cylinder lock. Only the knob 
lock was engaged and that was easy to 
defeat. They entered in complete silence. 
The barrels of their submachine guns gleam- 
ed dully in the half-light from the door. 

"Vinny?" he whispered. 

"Joey?" came the reply in the dark. 

"I'm goin' round in here," he said softly, 
"andyougoin...." 

Both men froze as they saw the tall 
shape watching them from the central room 
at the end of the hall. 

The night blazed and thundered as each 
squeezed a burst from his weapon. A terrific 
cloud of dust, debris and smoke kicked back 
into the hallway. Joey and Vinny peered 
from the doorframes of the rooms on either 
side of the hallway. 

"He down?" 

As if to answer, a white and purple 
beam struck Vinny in the upper thigh and 
burned a hole right through, setting the 
doorframe smoldering. 

"Ah Shees!" he moaned, rolling and 
clutching his burning leg. 



Another beam lanced out at where Joey 
had been. It was quick — like an electric 
spark, but perfectly straight. It made a sharp 
cracking sound when it passed through the 
air. Joey popped out low in the doorframe 
and threw a burst down the hall, then skip- 
ped across to where Vinny lay cursing his 
pain. 

"Shut up. You're alright," he lied. "Get 
backinaction." 

"What is it, Joey? — I ain't never faced 
nothing like that — hah?" 

"Look," he whispered, "you gotta put 
some heat on that doorway while I move 
up." 

Vinny made the heavy submachine gun 
speak. Joey advanced like the well-trained 
infantryman he was — weapon up, body flat 
against the wall until he got to the cover of 
the center doorframe. For a few seconds it 
was quiet except for the distant hammering 
of the two men at the back of the building. 
Joey looked back and saw Vinny's sweat 
covered face gleaming like a sickly moon. He 
signalled him to withdraw into the doorway 
of the side room. With a racket of firing Joey 
burst into the center room and dove onto his 
belly. 

There was no one there. 

"You hear that, Gilly? They're having a 
goddamned firefight up front. " Tommy was 
terrifically excited at the prospect of actually 
using the submachine gun, and was 
desperate to find some way out of the ap- 
parent dead-end storage space that the 
freight entrance led to. 

"Gilly, com'on, the elevator." 

It made no sense but both men wanted 
to do something and so they got in the 
elevator and pushed the lever towards "UP," 
They found the second floor to be a 
duplicate of the first, and the steel door in the 
forward wall was apparently barred from the 
opposite side. Back in the elevator they con- 
tinued their ascent. 

"Look at that, a sealed floor." Tommy 
reached out a hand to touch the cinderblock 
of the third floor. It was hot. 

The unused fourth floor was completely 
dark. Gilly struck one of the big kitchen 
matches he liked to carry for his panatelas. 
As far as they could see, the floor was empty 
except for heaps of old packing material and 
empty crates. Walking to the far end of the 
eerily creaking floor brought them to a dead 
end. 

"Hey, watch the matches! This place 
couldgouplikeatinderbox, hey." 

"Would you care?" said Gilly as he flip- 
ped the dying match to the floor. 

Both turned as they heard a deep clunk- 
ing noise. The elevator was leaving without 
them. 

"How the hell. . .that's a manual 
elevatorl" complained Gilly. 

"Put a cork in itl Get over against the 
other wall an' be ready. I got a feeling we're 
going to have company on the fourth floor." 

The two men took up separate posi- 
tions, each about five meters from the 
elevator shaft. 

"What if it's the other guys?" whispered 
Gilly. 

"Then don't shoot, idiot." 

The space they were in was almost com- 
pletely black except for the faintest of light 



coming up the shaft. They both heard the 
metallic clicking sounds and the whine as the 
elevator reversed and began to climb back to 
the fourth floor. They sensed the coming 
bulk of the car and readied their weapons. 
The cage of the elevator appeared, dully il- 
luminated by the one weak bulb in its ceiling. 
It stopped before it was level with the floor. 

Gilly was the first to stand up. "There 
ain't nobody on it. Tommy! It's goddamned 
empty for chrissakel" He turned to face 
Tommy with hands indignantly on hips, gun 
held loosely under his right arm. 

Two quick purple beams sprang from 
the top of the elevator, taking off the top of 
Gilly's head and burning a hole through 
Tommy's stomach; his Thompson seemed 
to fire itself at the top of the cage, continually 
until it jammed. The elevator descended. 

One of the bullets had grazed his face 
and most of his mask was hanging off. More 
seriously, another round had shattered his 
left shoulder and the arm was hanging 
uselessly. Worse yet, he had to go up front 
to make sure he had gotten both of the other 
assault troops that he'd seen on the screen. 
He tapped the controller with his thumb and 
the elevator settled to the ground floor 
again. 

In the limousine. Aldo Barone was very con- 
cerned. All that firing. It meant that it was 
going wrong again. Was this guy in- 
destructible? Did he have help? Five minutes 
I give it and I'm going in myself, he vowed. 

Joey felt along the wall of the win- 
dowless center room for any place that the 
big man might have passed through. He risk- 
ed his pocket flash light to examine the floor 
and there he found a trail of scuff marks and 
stains that led to the closet. Secret doors 
yet, he thought. This is the craziest thing I've 
ever done. Inside the closet he noticed 
nothing. Why be subtle, he shrugged, and 
cracked the back wall sharply with his gun 
butt. It immediately swung out into a huge, 
well-lit space containing a kind of gleaming 
metal towerin its center. 

But in the middle of the thing was this 
weird black space filled with constantly 
changing flecks of light. It made him sort of 
sick to his stomach to concentrate on the 
strange roiling mass inhabiting the 
framework. Whatever it was, it must be im- 
portant to the guy he was trying to nail. Ex- 
perimentally, he smashed his gunstock into 
some of the more delicate looking parts of 
the lattice work. He heard sounds like little 
drops of water on a very hot skillet. Yellow 
sparks showered down and the thing began 
to make a deep thrumming sound. Joey 
backed away, feeling scared and looking 
about nervously almost as if he feared to be 
blamed for what he had done. He took up a 
position on the far side of the framework, 
behind a heap of crates and bubble packag- 
ing. 

He sensed more than heard the ap- 
proach of the loft building's owner, Joey 
was good at remaining absolutely still, a 
technique he'd acquired on ambush mis- 
sions in the war. He nevertheless almost 
flinched when he saw the face of this thing. 
Its skin was hanging off and what was 
underneath made Joey's stomach heave. In 
the thing's right hand was a silver wand with 



a loop on Ihe end — like those wire rings kids 
blow bubbles with. The left arm looked like 
somebody had scored a hit. 

"Freeze, asshole!" he shouted, stand- 
ing up from the crates. The artist stopped in 
mid-stride. Absolutely still, except for the 
slight twirling motion his fingers imparted to 
the wand in his hand. Joey kept the big piece 
trained on him as he came out around the 
framework, 

"I got him, Mr. Barone. Vinny!" he call- 
ed over his shoulder. 

The shaft of purple white light hit Joey 
squarely in the neck. His spasming fingers 
fired one round into the hip of his killer, and 
sprayed the remainder of the clip into the 
complex framework running up one of the 
main supports of the cylinder. Joey slid 
down against the base of the framework, 
and his upper torso teetered into the strange 
black space and vanished, leaving behind his 
legs and hips. 

The space inside the lattice was gyrating 
even more wildly and some of the bright 
spots resolved themselves as stars before 
zooming away. The now crippled creator of 
the lattice staggered through the opened 
closet and into the central front room. His 
clouded vision resolved the form of Vinny ly- 
ing unconscious on the floor, and he beamed 
him through the head to make sure, I've got 
to secure and shut down, he thought. Get to 
my room, repair. 

Barone waited more than five minutes 
after hearing the last shots. For the first time 
in a long while he was truly terrified. He look- 
ed at the dark, hateful building standing 
isolated on the corner and contemplated the 
ruin of his orderly, business-like world of 
routine extortion and bribery that was 
signalled by the ominous quiet. I need help, 
he thought. 

Even though he was old, the thin little 
man in Brooklyn came quickly awake at the 
sound of the almost hysterical voice on the 
other end of the phone. 

"Calm yourself, calm yourself, Aldo. 
Tellme again, more slowly." 

He listened and grew concerned. In all 
the years he had known Aldo Barone, he had 
never heard a lie or exaggeration come from 
his lips. If anything the man was usually guil- 
ty of understatement. So he listened patient- 
ly and credulously. 

"You just stay near your car and watch, 
Aldo. I'll take care of everything." 

He owed Barone a great deal — tonight 
it would all be paid in full. Thanking the 
Mother of God for touch-tone phones, his 
arthritic fingers quickly punched several 
numbers and woke many young men. 

The wall glowed and he staggered into 
the room, almost crashing against the green 
booth. In pain that was just barely con- 
trollable in his body's fighting mode, he peel- 
ed off his damaged outer coverings. What 
did these people want? The credentials he'd 
taken off the last one told him nothing. Pro- 
bably not police after all. They behaved like a 
group in an Endgame. 

Have to change chemistry to repair, the 
blurred thinking ran in his throbbing head. 
Little yellow lines of light were spreading 
across the green translucent plate that 



swung down over his long bleeding form. 
Lying on his back, he willed the metabolic 
changes that would slow his body functions 
and enable the mechanism to repair his 
body. Before his eyes the blue in the room 
deepened to black and he lost con- 
sciousness. 

Sixteen men jogged up the stairs of the 
old tenement building. Even though they all 
carried long heavy cases, they moved easily. 
They were all young and strong, well trained 
by both the legal and illegal governments of 
their country. The tenants had already been 
moved out by some of the organization 
members in the neighborhood. They had all 
obeyed unquestioningly, knowing that 
whatever was to be done that night was for 
their own good. And they knew it was to be 
directed against the tall strange artist who 
owned the loft building next door. They had 
all smiled at that part. 

Most of the men had served together or 
had been in similar units. When they had 
been told that the work was to be done from 
the outside exclusively, they knew what 
tools to bring and how to proceed. Half of 
the men went to the roof and used an in- 
genious folding contraption to make a little 
aluminum bridge to the other building. They 
set the black cylinders at precise intervals, 
carefully throwing the little levers on top as 
they did so. The tar of the roof crackled 
under theirboots. 

In admiration, Aldo Barone watched 
from behind the wheel of his car. He saw 
four ropes fly out from the roof on the street 
side of the building and men seem to hop 
down them as if flying. Every few meters 
they stopped and stuck something to the 
side of the building, paying particular atten- 
tion to the bricked up windows. On the alley 
side, the others reached out with telescoping 
aluminum poles to stick things to the win- 
dows that looked like black coffee cans. In a 
short while the loft was dotted with them. 
Not once in all this time did a patrol car, or 
any other vehicle for that matter, pass by the 
scene of all this silent activity. 

SOMETHING WAS DRASTICALLY WRONG. The 
tearing pain in his hip and arm told him 
that the medical unit was not yet 
finished, yet it was interrupting its work and 
shutting down. He saw the pulsing of the 
lights and heard the shrill rhythmic beeping 
of the intruder alarm. They're all dead ... I got 
them all. More? Why do they keep coming? 

He saw an image form on the far wall. 
Against the deep blue, an iridescent green 
schematic of the building appeared. At 
regular intervals it glowed with brilliant red 
spots, and cloudy orange shapes that moved 
and left new red spots. Extend the field, he 
thought. Get downstairs. Make a weak ex- 
pansion outside the frame to neutralize the 
humans and their devices. Might kill me but 
only chance. Hurry. 

Spikes of excruciating pain stabbed 
through him as he lumbered against the wall. 
He fumbled with the controller as he saw 
more bright red spots form on the 
schematic. 

The man in the alley waved a penlight at 
the watching faces in the windows. They all 
withdrew in unison. Feet could be heard run- 
ning down the creaky steps of the old apart- 



ment house. Shortly, all the men were in the 
street carrying their now lightened long 
cases. The man with the penlight walked 
over to the car and handed Barone a little 
black box with an aerial on it. 

"Your good friend in Brooklyn said that 
you wanted to do the honors, Mr. Barone." 

"No wires? Aren't we too close?" asked 
the worried voice from the dark limousine. 

The young man smiled patronizingly. 
"Naw, it's by radio see — and all the force 
goes inward. I could stand on the steps with 
my mother's teacups an' be alright. Relax. 
You'll see! Just turn it to the right and make 
a wish." 

The black field swelled and spun, sending 
Fingers of space radiating out from the 
frame. Orange blood bubbled from his 
tortured arm and hip. The power in the frame 
keened upwards and seemed to make the 
whole building throb. He punched in the last 
delimiting coordinates on the test board. A 
blue digit glowed on the panel. "Eight," he 
counted, "seven..." 

All of downtown Manhattan went 
black. 

"Christ, what's with the streetlights. Hit 
the switch, Barone. Hit it." 

"...three..." 

Barone goggled as the walls of the 
building seemed to turn to black glass and 
shine with points of rose and purple light. 

"...two..." 



A tremendous stillness accompanied 
the visually spectacular detonation of the 
shaped charges. The explosions bloomed 
with red-white heat from all sides of the now 
weird looking building, but at first no sound 
was heard. 

Then there was a rushing noise and a 
strong wind built at the backs of the awe- 
struck men in the street. The shape of the 
loft was filled by fiercely white lines radiating 
from the center. Trash on the gutter lifted up 
into the shape. A dynamo sound whined 
towards the unhearable range. 

"Run!" the demolitions leader shouted 
over the roar of the air disappearing into 
space. Barone started the car. Some of the 
men seemed to rise into the night, silhouet- 
ted against the mad lights of the thing across 
the street. Random shafts of black wavered 
out of the mass. Barone felt sick to his 
stomach. Dizzy. Weightless. 

The heavy Cadillac whirled like a leaf 
and disappeared into black with a dull boom- 
ing noise. 

The three men who had escaped turned 
at the noise and saw a tall, iridescent figure 
seemingly suspended in the space where the 
building had been. The radiating lines had 
dulled to red. They heard a deep grating 
noise and felt a shuddering vibration through 
the street. The brilliance snapped out, and a 
prolonged loudening hiss rose up, followed 
by a climactic thump like the slamming shut 
of a gigantic book. 

A ragged smoking hole had taken the 
place of the four story building. The adjacent 
tenement was in ruins. 

In downtown Manhattan, the lights 
went back on. 



WORL DKILLER RULES r PA GE 1 



H A M The Came of Planetary Assault ■ I ^g 

Wori.dKiij.er 

Copyright © 1980, Simulations Publications. Inc.. New York, N.Y.. 10010 



Read This First: 

The rules to WorldKitler are organized by 
major topics arranged in the order in which 
they occur in the play of the game. Each such 
major topic is given a number and a name 
below which is given (visually) a General Rule 
or Description which summarizes the rules in 
that section, This is usually followed by 
numbered paragraphs called Cases, which 
give the specifics of the rules. Note that the 
numbering of the Cases is a decimal form of 
the Major Section number. Players should ex- 
amine the map and counters and then quickly 
read the rules (without trying to memorize 
them). "Then the game should be set up to play 
and a "trial run" made. Note lhat it isn't even 
necessary to have an opponent — the game 
can be played solitaire without any special 
rules, simply by assuming the roles of the op- 
ponents in proper turn. Because simulation 
games are richer and more complex than the 
typical board game, this style of play can be 
quite enjoyable (and is certainly one of the 
best ways to learn the rules). 

Inventory of Game Parts 

Each game of WorldKiiler should con- 
tain the following parts: 
One ] 1 " x 16" mapsheet 
One sheei of die-cut counters (100 pieces) 
One rules folder (bound into A res version) 
One die (not in Ares version) 
One game box (not in Ares version) 

If any of these parts are missing or 
damaged, notify SPI's Customer Service 
Department. 

Rules Questions 

Should you have any difficulty inter- 
preting the rules, please write to SP1, phrasing 
your questions so lhat they can be answered 
by a simple sentence, word, or number. You 
must enclose a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope. We cannot guarantee a proper 
answer should you choose to phone in your 
question (the right person is not always 
available — and since SPl has published hun- 
dreds of games, no one individual is capable 
of answering all questions). Write to: 

SPI 

Rules Questions Editor for 

WorldKiiler 

257 Park Avenue 

New York, N. Y. 10010 



[1.0] Basic Description of 
Play and Equipment 

GENERAL COMMENT: 

WorldKiiler is a simulation of the classic 
science fiction (heme of planetary assault. In 



the standard scenario^ one Player commands 
the ships and orbital fortresses of the defend- 
ing human forces; and the other Player 
commands the ships of the marauding alien 
force. Beyond the standard scenario there 
are provided additional rules and types of 
ships in order that play might be varied and 
scenarios of the Players' own devising be 
gamed. 

BASIC PROCEDURE OF PLAY: 

The Planetary Player's fortresses and 
ships arc set up first, and then the forces of 
the Intruder Player, according to the Stan- 
dard Scenario instructions (2.0). Taking 
alternating turns, each Player moves or fires 
the weapons of one of his ships. Movement 
takes place on the 11 " x 16" map that shows 
the position of the planet in a rectangular 
volume of space. The basic object of the 
game for the Intruder is to destroy the planet 
and its defending forces. 

[1.1] The WoridKHter map 
represents a rectangular volume of 
three dimensional 
space.measuring eight by twelve 
by seven Cubes. 

The basic unit of distance by which all 
range and movement is measured is the Cube 
(each cube is a scale 10,000 kilometers 
across). The two dimensional surface on 
which the map is printed also includes the 
thitd dimension as a series of positive (to -t-3) 
or negative (to — 3) positions within each two 
dimensional grid box. Note that each grid 
box is numbered with a three digit number. 
Since each grid box is actually seven Cubes 
deep, this number should be followed by a 
zero or a positive or negative number to in- 
dicate an exact Cube. For example 101 + 3 is 
Ihe "highest" Cube in the upper left space. 
Zero coordinaies use "@;" e.g., 101 @0. 
[1,2] The playing pieces represent 
the ships and orbital fortresses 
involved in the battle. 

Carefully punch out the cardboard 
counters and examine them. Each ship 
counier has a series of numbers printed on its 
front side which represent the capabilities of 
That particular ship. 

SAMPLE SHIP IderuifkalfoH Number 



Siren f;l)i 




Weapon Rimge 
Definition uf Values on Counters: 

Attack Strength: The basic offensive power 

of a ship ot fortress. 

Weapon Range: The maximum number Of 

Cubes of distance at which a ship or fortress 
may use its Attack Strength to hit an Enemy. 

RKMOVING THi; HULKS FKOM THIS ISStK: 

r, bend Ihe staples with a penknife or screwdriver; tif 



Defense Strength; The basic defensive 
capability of a ship or fortress. 
Jump Range: The maximum number of 
Cubes a ship may move in a single Game- 
Turn. 

[1.3] A single six-sided die is 
necessary to play WorldKiiler. 

This is provided in ihe boxed edition of 
the game but not in the subscription version. 
This die is used to generate a random number 
for use in the combat procedure. It has 
nothing to do with movement. 

INTRUDER SHIPS AND MISSILES 
FROXT BACK 



WorldKiiler (assa.uk ship) 
Quantity: 9 



Dominatof (assault ship) 
Quantity; 5 



Smasher (missile carrier) 
Quantity: 2 



Crusher //(missile) 
Quantity: 6 



PLANETARY SHIPS AND 
ORBITAL FORTRESSES 



003 y 

536-0 


Outrider (orbital fortress) 
Quantity:* 






2C1 
IK 

214-2 


V-Dusier (patrol frigate) 
Quantity;? 






406 
414-2 


Spacelrain 3 

(reserve cruiser) 

Quantity; 6 






502 
426-2 


Sentry IX (regular crui&cr) 
Quantity: 2 






303 

•-• 

226-3 


K-Wtigon (light cruiser) 
Quantity: 3 






1W 

-■* 

H3-6 


BiitzRider (bcqUL vessel) 
Quantity: 4 



t llu' rules, and close staple* 



Shield 
"A" 
-5- 



MARKERS 
Planetary Shields 

Damage 



[2.0] Standard Scenario 

How to Start the Game 
and How .to Win 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: 

In 3021, the fragile peace that existed 
between the human race and the e'kenn was 
shattered by e'kenni attacks on the frontier 
worlds of humankind. E'kenn strategy and 
operations consisted largely of unsubtle 
frontal attacks aimed at nothing short of an- 
nihilation of the target planets. The popula- 
tions of two frontier worlds were totally 
destroyed before the others had had suffici- 
ent time to develop defense fleets to respond 
to the alien threat. The game presents the at- 
tack on Greendream in 3022.039, at 1755 
hours Sector Three Standard Time. In the ac- 
tual battle, the defense forces from Green- 
dream inflicted heavy losses on the e'kenni 
assault group, while losing most of their own 
reserve forces. Because the weakened alien 
fleet was subsequently annihilated in the Bat- 
tle of Margrett, Greendream is looked upon 
as the turning point that led to the Truce of 
Ikenna in 3023.019. 

PROCEDURE: 

The Planetary Player sets his forces up 
first, in any of the Cubes not in the Intruder 
set-up zone marked on the map. He also 
places his orbital fortresses on the Cubes in- 
dicated on the map. The Intruder then sets 
up his forces in any of the Cubes within the 
Intruder set-up zone. Play then proceeds ac- 
cording to the Sequence of Play (see Section 
3.0) until one side or the other wins or resigns 
the game. 

CASES: 

[2.1] The Planetary Player's 
starting forces are as pictured: 



4 Outrider Orbital Fortresses 
(one each in Cubes 308@0; 
310@0; 508@O; 510@0) 



m 5 V-Duster Patrol Frigates 

214-2 



4 Spacelrain Reserve Cruisers 



2 K-Wagon Light Cruisers 



WORLDKILLER RULES, PAGE2 

[2.2] The Intruder Player's 
starting forces are as 
pictured: 



5 WorldKiller Assault Ships 



2 Dominator Assault Ships 



These forces deploy in any Cubes in the In- 
truder Set-up Zone. 

[2.3] The Intruder Player wins if he 
destroys the planet and has at 
least one surviving ship upon 
doing so; otherwise, the Planetary 
Player wins. 

Note that, if after twenty Game-Turns 
of play, the Intruder has been so weakened as 
to be incapable of destroying the planet and 
yet still capable of avoiding the Planetary 
Player's attempts to eliminate him complete- 
ly, the Planetary Player can claim victory 
by having twice as many total Attack 
Strength Points in play as the Intruder has 
total Defense. Strength Points in play at the 
end of any Game-Turn. This provision is 
only meant to prevent the weakened and los- 
ing Intruder from dragging out the game by 
dodging around the map avoiding combat. 



[3.3] No ship or fortress may ever 
perform more than one act per 
Game-Turn. 

[3.4] A ship or fortress is eligible 
to act If It Is face-up on the map 
(i.e. it hasn't yet acted In that 
Game-Turn). 

Note also that a ship or fortress may be 
ineligible to fire if it currently sustains a 
number of Damage Points at least equal to its 
Attack Strength (see 6.2). 



[4.0] Jumping 

The Act of Moving 

GENERAL RULE: 

When it is a Player's turn to act, any one 
of his eligible ships may Jump a distance 
equal to or less than its Jump Range. The 
Jump Range is expressed in Cubes of 
distance. Damage does not affect Jumping. 

PROCEDURE: 

The Player takes the ship from its cur- 
rent position and places it in its new position, 
being careful to place it on the exact line 
within the grid box that indicates the specific 
Positive or Negative Cube that it occupies. 
This is done by placing the edge of the 
counter abutting the appropriate line. 



These forces deploy in any Cubes not in the 
Intruder Set-up Zone. 



[3.0] Sequence of Play ™ 

GENERAL RULE: 

WorldKiller is played in consecutive 
turns called Game-Turns. Each Game-Turn 
consists of a number of alternating Player 
events called acts. Basically, each Player can 
perform one act per Game-Turn with every 
ship or fortress he has. The game can con- 
tinue for an indefinite number of Game- 
Turns, until one or the other Player satisfies 
the victory conditions. 

Outline of the Sequence of Play 
of a Game-Turn 

Step 1. Intruder performs an act with one of 
his eligible ships (or passes). Upon acting, he 
turns the ship face down. 
Step 2. Defender performs an act with one 
of his eligible ships or fortresses (or passes). 
Upon acting, he turns the ship or fortress 
face down. 

Step 3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until both 
Players have passed consecutively. If both 
pass consecutively (regardless of order) — or 
all possible actions have been performed — 
then the Game-Turn ends, and all ships and 
fortresses are turned face-up and a new 
Game-Turn begins. 

CASES: 

[3.1] There are any one of five 
possible actions a ship can take: 
Jump, Attack, Pop, Stretch, 
and Repair 

[3.2] There are only two possible 
actions a fortress can take: 
Attack and Repair. 



+ 3 101 


+ 3 102 


705 
•- " 

336-3 


1 

M 


1 
CO 


+ 2 




I 

CO 


+ 1 




I 


o 


1 

_1 


O 


I 



CASES: 

[4.1] A ship measures the distance 
of its Jump by reference to the 
True Distance Table (see page 22). 

The Players should note that there are 
some legal jumps, particularly in diagonal 
directions, that are not readily recognized as 
such. The True Distance Table is a simple ex- 
pression of the three dimensional geometry 
of Jumping. See last page of rules. 

[4.2] Ships may jump through any 
Cube on the way to their 
destination Cube. 

Jumping is considered to be a kind of 
hyperspace travel (moving from one point to 
another without having to traverse the in- 
tervening space), and as such, nothing can 
block or get in the way of a jump. 

[4.3] Ships may Jump Into or from 
Cubes containing other Friendly 
ships or fortresses. 

[4.4] Ships may not enter Cubes 
containing Enemy ships or 
fortresses, nor may they ever 
enter the Cube containing 
the planet (409@0). 



[4.5] Intruder ships may not enter 
the Cubes near the planet which 
are marked with stars. 

These Cubes are prohibited (to Intruder 
ships only) due to the presence of powerful, 
short- ranged planet-based defenses. 

[5.0] Stretching 

A Special Kind of Intruder Jump 

GENERAL RULE: 

Any Intruder ship may increase the 
range of a given jump by inactively waiting 
(Stretching) a number of Game-Turns before 
performing the Stretched Jump. An Intruder 
that remains inactive for two Game-Turns 
may jump a distance of six Cubes (regardless 
of its normal range). An Intruder that waits 
for three Game-Turns may Jump on the 
following Game-Turn to any Cube on the 
map (except the Prohibited Cubes, the one 
containing the Planet, and Enemy occupied 
Cubes). 

PROCEDURE: 

Each Game-Turn in which Intruders 
have been Stretching should be recorded on a 
piece of paper (using the I. D. number on the 
counter). 

CASES: 

[5.1] An Intruder is not required to 
execute a Stretch Jump simply 
because it is eligible to do so. 

The ship may continue to stretch or it 
may attack, pop, repair, or move normally 
thereby making itself ineligible to Stretch 
Jump. It may reinstitute the procedure sim- 
ply by starting to wait inactively again. 

[5.2] Damage does not interfere 
with Stretching. 

[6.0] Attacking 
and Popping 

How Combat is Resolved 

GENERAL RULE: 

Each ship and fortress has an Attack 
Strength and Weapon Range. When 
eligible, a ship or fortress may attack any 
single Enemy within its range. 

PROCEDURE: 

Subtract the Attack Strength of the act- 
ing ship or fortress from the final Defense 
Strength of the target. Take the resulting 
number* and subtract it from the number 
determined by the roll of one die. The result 
is the number of Damage Points inflicted on 
the ship or fortress. Place a Damage marker 
under the affected ship. 

•If less than zero, treat as zero. 

For example, a WorldKiller (Attack 
Strength of "3") fires at an undamaged 
V-Duster (Defense Strength of "4"). The 
die-roll obtained (for the sake of the exam- 
ple) is "5." This is reduced to "4" (Defense 
Strength minus Attack Strength yields a sub- 
tractor of "1"). The V-Duster sustains four 
Damage Points and now has an effective 
Defense Strength of "2." 
CASES: 

[6.1] When a ship or fortress 
sustains a number of Damage 



WORLDKILLER RULES, PAGE 3 

Points double (or more than 
double) its printed Defense 
Strength, then that ship or fortress 
is destroyed. 

Remove the piece from the game im- 
mediately. For example, if a WorldKiller 
assault ship currently has 12 Damage Points 
scored on it, it is destroyed. 

[6.2] When a ship or fortress 
sustains a number of Damage 
Points equal to or greater than its 
Attack Strength, then that ship or 
fortress can no longer attack. 

Should it repair itself, reducing the cur- 
rent Damage Points sustained below its At- 
tack Strength, it may resume its ability to at- 
tack. 

[6.3] The affective Defense 
Strength of a ship or fortress is 
equal to its printed strength minus 
half of the damage Points it is 
currently sustaining. 

Round down when halving Damage 
Points for calculation of effective Defense 
Strength. 

Example: A ship with a printed Defense 
Strength of "3" that has three points of 
damage on it has an effective Defense 
Strength of "2." 

[6.4] The Planetary Player's ships 
(not fortresses) may have their 
Final Defense Strength increased 
by as much as two Points due to 
the adjacency of Friendly ships 
or fortresses 

The Final Defense Strength increases by 
one for each of any two adjacent ships or for- 
tresses. There is no increase beyond two, nor 
may any ship ever have a Final Defense 
Strength greater than six. 

Example: There is a V-Duster Frigate 
each in 801 + 1 ; 802 + 1; 801 + 2; and 802 + 2. 
All are mutually adjacent to each other and 
therefore can add as much as two to each 
other's Defense Strength. 





gni 


.1 o 


809 


1 


204 

m 

214-2 


I 


I 

CO 


( 


206 

m 

214-2 


I 
M 


W 


1 


214-2 1 


■ 214-2 I 


1- 


n 



[6.5] Any eligible ship may make a 
Pop attack by moving and firing 
(or firing and moving) in the same 
Game-Turn. 

Immediately after making a Pop attack, 
the acting ship suffers two points of Damage 
(for straining its capacities). Note that a Pop 
attack is only considered to be one act. 

[6.6] When a ship or fortress is 
destroyed, all other ships (but not 
fortresses) in the same Cube are 
immediately destroyed as well. 

[6.7] The Planet has three passive 
ground based shields, each with a 
Defense Strength of "5." 



These shields must all be destroyed 
before the Planet is considered destroyed. 
They must each be attacked individually and 
they may not repair themselves. Players keep 
track of the status of the shields on a piece of 
scratch paper. Alternatively, Players may use 
the Shield Markers provided to record which 
Shields remain and which one is under attack. 



[7.0] Repair 

The Ability of Ships and Fortresses 
to Recover from Damage 

GENERAL RULE: 

When eligible to act, a ship or fortress 
may choose to repair itself. The number of 
Damage Points removed is equal to the effec- 
tive Defense Strength of that ship or fortress 
considered alone (i.e., without any possible 
adjacency benefit). 

Example: If a ship with a printed 
Defense Strength of "4" had four points of 
damage on it, its effective Defense Strength 
would be "2," and it could remove two 
Damage Points in an act of repair, making its 
current effective Defense Strength "3." 

[8.0] The Reinforcement 
Scenario 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: 

As an alternative line of the history of 
the battle, it is presumed that the long range 
engagement which preceded the main battle 
did not result in the mutual destruction that 
actually occurred. Rather, some of the forces 
involved recover and return to assist in the 
defense of the planet, pursued by the rem- 
nants of the second enemy fleet. 

PROCEDURE: 

On Game-Turn thirteen, the Planetary 
Player rolls the die, and as a result, may possi- 
bly bring on an additional force of seven 
ships. These new vessels enter the map from a 
randomly determined map edge. When the 
Planetary Player brings on his ships, the In- 
truder Player follows on a subsequent Game- 
Turn with a group of six of his own. 

CASES: 

[8.1] The Planetary reinforcement 
group consists of the following 
seven ships: 

Two V-Duster Patrol Frigates 
Two Spacetrain Reserve Cruisers 
Two Sentry IX Regular Cruisers 
One K-Wagon Light Cruiser 

[8.2] The Intruder reinforcement 

group consists of the following six 

ships: 

Three WorldKiller Assault Ships 

Three Dominator Assault Ships 

[8.3] Starting with Game-Turn 13, 

the Planetary Player throws a die 

to determine whether the 

reinforcement group will arrive; 

the chance for reinforcement 

improves on every subsequent 

Game-Turn. 



On Game-Turn 13, a roll of "1" means 
the reinforcements arrive. On Game-Turn 
14, a roll of "1" or tl 2" means the reinforce- 
ments arrive. A roll of "3" or less on Game- 
Turn 15, a roll of "4" or less on Game- Turn 
16, and a roll of ,l 5" or less on Game-Turn 
17 will bring on the reinforcements. The rein- 
forcement force automatically enters on 
Game-Turn 18, if it has not been activated 
before. 

[8.41 The edge on which the 
Planetary reinforcement group 
enters is determined by the throw 
of the die. 

1 = any Cube with a number ending in 01. 

2 = any Cube with a number ending in 12. 
3,4 = any Cube with a number starting in 1. 
5,6 — any Cube with a number starting in fj. 

The whole group is placed in the entry 
Cubes and is eligible to act individually as of 
the Game-Turn of entry. 

[8.5] The Intruder reinforcement 
group may enter in any Cube(s) 
not occupied by Enemy forces and 
not closer than three Cubes to 
the planet. 

The Intruder reinforcement group ar- 
rives on the Game- Turn following the arrival 
of the Planetary Defense reinforcements. 



[9.0] Missile Cruisers 

An Optional Intruder Ship Type 

GENERAL RULE: 

If the Players desire, they may allow In- 
truder Player to use two Smasher Missile 
Cruisers, either as starting forces or as rein- 
forcements. These ships could have been pre- 
sent in the actual battle had the e'kenn 
stripped their home system defenses. The 
cruisers fire missiles which act independently 
after being launched. 

PROCEDURE: 

Missile Cruisers may each fire one 
missile as an act. 

CASES: 

[9.1] Missile Cruisers have a 
missile carrying capacity of 
six missiles. 

There is no need to move the onboard 
missiles with the ships; rather they should ap- 
pear only when launched. 

[9.2] Missiles act independently on 
every Game-Turn, including the 
Game-Turn of launch. 

They move just as ships do. 

[9.3] When a missile enters an 
Enemy Occupied" Cube, it 
immediately explodes and attacks 
the Enemy with its 
Attack Strength. 

Once a missile explodes it is removed 
and recycled for use as a new launch 
(presuming the ships have not used up Iheir 
six missile load). Note that the missile (or a 
BlitzRider acting as a missile, 10.3) is the only 
piece allowed to enter an Enemy occupied 



WORLDKILLER RULES. PAGE4 

Cube. Missiles may be used against the 
planet. Note that the explosion of a missile or 
BlitzRider acting as a missile does not 
automatically destroy ships or forts as 
described in Case 6.6. 

[9.4] Although missiles don't 
repair themselves, damage never 
affects their Attack Strength. 

Notice that the Attack Strength has no 
Weapon Range and can only come into use 
when the missile explodes. 



[10.0] BlitzRider 
Scout Vessels 

An Optional Planetary Ship Type 

GENERAL RULE: 

If both Players agree, the Planetary 
Player may be assigned as many as four Blitz- 
Riders, one to each orbital fortress. 
Although this type was not then found in the 
inventories of frontier worlds, a change of 
centra] fleet policy could have made them 
available. 

PROCEDURE: 

In any Game-Turn an orbital fortress 
may launch its BlitzRider which then acts in- 
dependently after being launched. 

CASES: 

[10.1] BlitzFtiders may execute a 
Pop without suffering the usual 
mandatory damage, if they move 
no more than half their 
Jump Range. 

[10.2] BlitzRiders may always 
attack regardless of the damage 
they might be sustaining,. 

[10.3] A BlitzRider may act as a 
missile, i.e. r crashing itself into an 
Enemy and immediately attacking. 

If it performs this suicidal maneuver, it 
executes its final attack with an Attack 
Strength of "3." This maneuver is treated as 
a Pop; i.e., the BlitzRider may move and 
then explode in the same act. 



[11.0] Variable Strength 
of Forces 

GENERAL RULE: 

If the Players agree, they may vary the 
starting forces and reinforcements in any 
manner they wish. Even switching positions 
is allowed; i.e., the Intruder ships defend the 
planet and the normal Planetary forces at- 
tack. Note that an extra WorldKiller ship has 
been included in the mix to make the Intru- 
der even stronger if so desired. 

PROCEDURE: 

After gaining-some experience with the 
qualities of the various ships, the Players 
may construct any reasonable scenario. It is 
advisable to record variations and track the 
results so that successful variants can be 
played again. None of the conventions of the 
game should be considered sacrosanct — 



Players should feel free to change starting 
forces, set-ups, positions of fortresses H etc. 

The entire frontier war can be simulated 
by playing a series of games. Start the In- 
truders with all of their ships (including op- 
tional counters). Planetary forces can start 
with only fortresses and four V-Dusters for 
the first two games. The third game is the 
standard scenario (except that the Intruder 
only has what survives the first two games). 
Players may elaborate this suggested format 
in any way they deem reasonable. 



TRUE DISTANCE TABLE 



X-Y 

or 

Y-X 


Z Axis 
12 3 4 6 6 


1-1 


J 2 2 3 4 5 6 


1-2 


2 2 3 4 5 5 6 


1-3 


3 3 4 4 5 6- 


1-4 


4 4 5 5 6 6- 


1-S 


5 5 5 6 6 - - 


1-6 


6 6*---- 

12 3 4 5 


22 


3 3 3 4 5 6 


2-3 


4 4 4 5 5 6 


2-4 


4 5 5 5 6- 


2-5 


5 5 6 6 - - 


2-6 


6 6 - - - - 




12 3 4 


3-3 


4 4 5 5 6 


3-4 


5 5 5 6 6 


3-5 


6 6 6 - - 




12 3 


4-4 


6 6 6 6 


4-5 


6 6 - - 



How to Use theTrue Distance Table: 

When a ship displaces from Cube to 
Cube, the Player should think of the 
move as a shift in three separate dimen- 
sions. If we call the two directions on the 
flat map surface X and Y, we can use the 
conventions of geometry and call the 
third (up and down) dimension Z. So, for 
example, a move from 801 @0 to 604 + 2 
is expressed as X3, Y2, and Z2. Looking 
on the Table we find that this is a true 
distance of 4 Cubes. 



Design Credits: 

Game Design. Graphic Design and Rules: 

Redmond A. Simonsen 
Game Development: 

Anthony Buccini, Eric Goldberg 
Graphic Production: 
Dave Engler, Rosalind Fruchtman, 
Ted Roller, Manfred F. Milkuhrt, 
Mike Moore, Bob Ryer 



Strategy & Fantasy World 



Centers for Wargamer, 

Fantasy Gamer 
and Miniaturist 

Six centers for the wargamer and fantasy buff, each store conveniently 
located in or adjacent to a major metropolitan area — andeach organized asa 
one-stop shopping center for your gaming needs and requirements. 

Strategy and Fantasy Worlds feature 

* Military and Fantasy Games — a wide selection — new and standard — 
bestselling and "hard -to- find" 

* Military and Fantasy Miniatures 

* Military and Fantasy Accessories and Magazines 

* Military and Fantasy Books — history, reference, wargaming — indudinga 
full choice from the country's leading military publisher , . . 

HIPPOCRENE 
BOOKS 




We are Americas' Headquarters for the 

Wargamer, Fantasy Gamer & Miniaturist 

centrally located in these metropolitan 

areas: 



Valley Forge Shopping Center 
King of Prussia, Pa. 19406 
Tel. 215-265-8562 



505 Cathedral Street 
Baltimore, Md. 21201 
Tel: 301-751-8268 



103 East Broad Street 
Falls Church, Va. 22046 
Tel: 703-532-2477 



Colonial Arcade 
530 Euclid Ayenue 
Cleveland, Ohio 44115 
Tel: 216-621-2293 



102 Massachusetts Avenue 
Boston, Mass. 02115 
Tel: 617-267-2451 



Croasdaile Shopping Center 
1821 Hillandale Road 
Durham, N.C. 27705 
Tel: 919-383-4766 



Come in and inspect our great selections. Our 
stores carry new games as well as standard favor- 
ites and have facilities to play these games. You are 
cordially invited to join us. K you can't get in to any 



our stores and wish to place an order, contact 
r Mail Order Department at 

171 Madison Avenue 
New York, N.Y. 10016 




OUTRIDER FOUR RECEIVING LONG PROBE TRANSMISSION 
FROM ABLE EIGHTY ON FOUR OH OH. SAY MIN EIGHT 
BODIES ON JUMP IN GREENDREAM AREA SPACE. 
V-DUSTER TWENTY-ONE-TWO. GO TO WARPLAN RED 
DELTA NINE, QUICKLAUNCH IN THREE, TWO, ONE. 
LAU N CH . Hear you well Outrider Forming k-link on launch 
from Outriders Two and Three. In-jumping in four, three, 
two, one. In-jump. THANK YOU TWENTY-ONE-TWO. HEAR 
SIXTY-FIVE-SIX IN LOCAL SPACE RENDEZVOUS YOUR 



POINT IN ONE, Hear Twenty-One-Two. Forming jump im 
age on Spacetrain R-30. Jumping in five. Max window and 
tuning... three, two, one. Jump. I have you on longprobe 
Spacetrain. Say? AFFIRMATIVE RED DELTA LEADER 
TAKING FIRE FROM COORDINATES EIGHT-OH-FOUR 
WORLDKILLER CLASS, MIN FOUR HULLS. ISAY AGAIN. 
TAKING FIRE FROM COORDINATES EIGHTOHTHREE 
ONE-FOUR. WORLDKILLER CL-KKKKKKKKKXXXX 
ULLS. SUGGEST CLOSE ON COORDINATES EIGHT-OH- 



Shortfile of the Attack on Planet Greendream 
by Elements of the E'kenni Warfleet. 

Representative video frames and k-radio transcriptions. 3022.039/1755TST 




■J& 



□D3H TQqg 61 



THREE TWO FOUR IN THREE. COORDINATES EIGHT 
QH-THR-XXXXXKKKKKXXX IN THREE. SAY? Tack jump 
coming in four... three.. .two... one.. .jump. Lock and fire 
main tubes. Delta Nine Group. Firing now. Tubes heating. 
Delta Nine Left, execute maneuvkkkkkkxxkkk-adio freak 
jade-one. Delta Nine Left exec khkxxkk maneuver gold- 
forty-twOr change k-radio freak jade one. Say? 
KKKKXXXK-elfa Leader. Cannot comply. Tube hits on ablatives 
three, two, and six. KKKKXX-not comply to maneuver order 

"'ne Left, am tak- 

g fire as we/I. Ablatives gone on four, fi- 

KKKKKXXXX. THIS IS DELTA NINE CENTER LEADING. 

LL FORCES EXECUTE RED FIVE, I SAY AGAIN. DELTA 

E CENTER LEADING. EXECUTE RED FIVE Outrider 



ORI.DKII.I.F.R 



Three Fire Control on wait. We have devils three in bom- 
bardment configuration at coordinates one one oh two. 

OUTRIDER. OUTRIDER. THIS IS PLANET BASE REDOUE 
TABLE. ALL SHIELDS GONE CASUALTIES MAX-PLUS. 
FUNCTION GONE. UP TO YOU. PROVIDE COVER THIS 
QUAD. GIVE THE BASTARDS EVERYTHING YOU'V-KKK- 
K.XXKKX. Firing in three. Two. One. All tulles Are. 
OUTRIDER THREE, THIS IS RED DELTA NINE COVER 
ING. WE SEE YOUR HITS ON MAIN DEVILS AT ONE-ONE- 
OHTWO. CLOSING NOW. NO RETURN FIRE. ONEGONE. 
TWO XXXXKKKX REE GONE. SIGNAL TO BASE INVIN- 
CIBLE. ALL CLEAR. CODE GREEN TWENTY. I SAY 

AGAIN: ALL CLEAR. SA Y? IEN0 3022.039/1759.51TST] 



Storyboard illustration by Joe Barney; text by Redmond Simonsen 



Rlm& 
Television 



STAR TREK - The Motion Picture 

Producer: Gene Rod den berry 
Director: Robert A. Wise 
Story: Alan Dean Fosler 
Screenplay: Harold Livingstone 
Special Effects: 
Douglas Trumball. John Dykstra 
Cast 

William Shatner AdmiralJames T. Kirk 

Leonard Nimoy Mr. Spock 

De Forest Kel ley Dr. McCoy 

Stephen Collins Decker 

Persis Khambatta — Ilia 

James Doohan Scotry 

Nichelle Nichols Uhuru 

Walter Koenig Chekov 

George Takei Sulu 

Majel Barrett Christine Chapel 

While Star Trek was not without its ap- 
peal as a television series in the sixties, the in- 
tervening years have increased the defunct 
show's reputation beyond all sense of reality. 
Gene Roddenberry, Trek's creator and guru, 
prefers to locate the saga's continuing suc- 
cess in his facile, pro-future gospel, but it is 
more probable that the series' greatest 
strength lay in the simple but pleasurable 
schemata of its character interactions. In the 
umpty-million dollar StarTrek — TheMotion 
Picture, the Enterprises's crew is reunited, 
only to become subsumed by the absurdly 
high-tech vision of our future. The ultimate 
result of the transformation of series to film is 
to reveal the complete hollowness of Rod- 
denberry's mock liberal/humanist vision. 

Thefilm'sfailurein thephilosophicarena 
is overshadowed by its concurrent failures as 
either interesting science fiction or dramatic 
filmmaking. While the episodes of lasting 
resonance from the series I The City on the 
Edge of Forever, Amok Time) involved in- 
triguing tensions between and within the 
characters, Star Trek — The Motion Picture 
concentrates instead upon an obfuscated 
confrontation with a machine called V'ger in 
a sloppily constructed narrative that seems, 
after considering the tales of multitudes of re- 
jected scripts, a desperate eleventh-hour 
recourse. Alan Dean Foster, an sf writer of a 
frighteningly prolific nature, is credited with 
the story. He has simply dusted off several 
ideas old even to Star Trek and added a 
predictable dose of quasi-mystical preten- 
sion. V'ger, generating an impossibly power- 
ful energy field, is discovered to be heading 
directly for Earth, destroying everything it 
can along the way. The Enterprise, orbiting 
Earth in drydock, is hastily dispatched with 
Kirk, McCoy, et. a!., to avert the approaching 
disaster. Probing V'ger's inner depths. Kirk 
dirties his hands to discover that V'ger is ac- 
tually an ancient Voyager probe that has ac- 
quired its own brand of electronic sentience 
since its launch way back in the dark ages of 
the twentieth century. An annoying officer 



named Decker merges with the machine (in 
the mechanical duplication of Ilia — his one 
true love) and disappears in a holy shimmer of 
light. Its quest for its "creator" satisfied, 
V'ger takes off for higher planes. 

This V'ger/Voyager conceit is remark- 
ably uninspired, a lame effect to rank with 
the inglorious finale of Planet of the Apes. 
What first appears as profound or witty is, 
upon reflection, revealed as mechanical and 
trite. As a climactic hook in an hour-long 
episode it is inconsequential enough; as a 
central revelation in a two and one half hour, 
fantastically expense, "major" motion pic- 
ture, it is only insipid. 

To accentuate the banality of the plot, a 
background rife with human, dramatic 
potential, concerning a desk-bound Admiral 
Kirk who is recalled to command a heavily- 
modified, and largely unfamiliar Enterprise, 
is clumsily side-stepped with only the most 
perfunctory treatment. As is usual with most 
modern science fantasy films, Foster's story 
and Harold Livingstone's screenplay seem 
designed only to make full use of the over- 
extended and appallingly exaggerated 
special effects budget. Electronic gimmickry 
again scores over dramatic characterization, 
a decision which, in the case of Star Trek 
results in an empty, joyless film. 

As treated by director Robert Wise, this 
material also becomes stately slow and 
ponderously dull, a misguided attempt to ap- 
ply the epic poetry of Kubrick's 200! to Rod- 
denberry's moralistic fortune cookie. The au- 
dience is reintroduced to the Enterprise via 
an overly loving, almost erotic, five-minute 
sequence. The reverence with which the 
film's technological setting and technical ef- 
fects are treated neatly undercuts all the 
"emotion over electronics" philosophizing, 
effectively revealing the hypocrisy at the 
film's core. Humans are treated as static ob- 
jects, and thus the eye is constantly drawn to 
the bewildering profusion of flashing lights 
and cruising spacecraft provided by the ef- 
fects department. Perhaps Star Trek could 
never have survived the change in format. 
The crew aboard the bridge is mainly oc- 
cupied with punching buttons and staring at 
a viewscreen — not the stuff from which ef- 
fective film is made. On television, the 
enclosed simplicity of the bridge set was 
perfectly suited for the presentation of 
workable, intimate, television drama. Ex- 
panded to Panavision proportions, however, 
the stasis is overwhelming. A complete lack 
of dramatic editing — odd for Wise, aformer 
editor himself — only emphasizes the failure 
of the filmmakers to exploit any of the exis- 
tent human possibilities. The clutter of the 
film isolates the characters, and renders im- 
possible any of the series' intimacy. At first 
this disorder works to the film's advantage; 
Kirk's return is to a cold, sterile Enterprise, 
and its unfamiliarity alienates an audience as 
it should Kirk. However, this alienation, 
never acknowledged, is never overcome. 
The Enterprise is too big, too clean, roonew. 

With Star Trek, Roddenberry's trick has 
been to wear the mask of the humanist as he 
plays with his Erector set. The scale of the 
television series arrested his vision at a com- 
fortable and still interesting level, but the 
new film has finally removed the mask. 

Scott Bukatman 



THE LATHE OF HEAVEN 

Co-Producers/ C o- D i recto ra : 

David Loxpon, Fred Barzyk 
Story: Ursula K. LeGuin 
Teleplay: Roger E. S waybill, Diane English 
Creative Consultant: Ursula K. LeGuin 
Special Effects: Lori Spiegal 
Cast 

Bruce Davison George Orr 

Kevin Conway Dr. William Haber 

Margaret Avery Heather Lelache 

If we are lucky, The Lathe of Heaven, 
produced by PBS from the novel of the same 
name by Ursual K. LeGuin, will put to rest 
the ghost of Star Wars. The success of Star 
Wars spawned a succession of high-priced 
imitations, from Batt/estar Galactica all the 
way through Star Trek — The Motion Pic- 
ture and The Black Hole. These latter two 
movies emphasized the special effects to the 
exclusion of plot and character. While they 
may have been visually impressive, both 
films were sorely lacking in the fundamentals 
of good story- telling and good film-making. 

Lathe, however, has shown that a 
superb science fiction production can be 
created without a mammoth budget. In- 
deed, produced for less than one million 
dollars. Lathe managed, nevertheless, to 
capture the core of Ms. Leguin's novel 
(thanks perhaps to the fact that she was 
creative consultant for the production), and 
maintain good production values and ap- 
pearance as well. 

The story of George Orr, who by his 
dreams actually changes the flow of reality, 
builds consistently. The plight of his ex- 
istence — the re-creation of the world during 
sleep — is examined through his conflict 
with Dr. Haber, a man who would use 
George's dreams to create paradise on Earth. 
Each new dream induces a widening sense of 
awe, as the world's climate changes, as 
aliens are drawn into conflict with Earth (only 
to be found to be peaceful) and as the pro- 
blems of humanity are erased by erasing 
most of humanity. Lathe succeeds where the 
sf exploitation films collapse: in the universe 
of storytelling and meaning. The central pro- 
blem is eventually resolved ingeniously, us- 
ing the materials of the wo rid- con struct 
LeGuin has created. Lathe is the best piece 
of science fiction (as opposed to science fan- 
tasy) film to appear in years. 

One hopes some producers who plan 
yet more clones of Star Wars will have 
watched Lathe and learned that science fic- 
tion does not consist solely of dogfights in 
space and cardboard heroes facing "gee- 
whiz" challenges. The best science fiction, 
such as Lathe, examines humankind's place 
in the universe and the products and pro- 
blems created by intelligence. Let us hope 
PBS continues with more science fiction. 
Just think, for the price of one Star Trek, you 
could have fifty Lathes of Heaven. 

Michael Moore 



CONVENTIONS AND SPECIAL EVENTS 

Ares will gladly publish (free of charge) 
notices of gaming and sf&f conventions. 
Provide complete information at least six 
months in advance of con date. Send to the 
attention of Convention Notices/Ares. 



Games 



A Galaxy of Games 

Reviews of the Most Significant Science Fiction 
and Fantasy Games 

by Greg Costikyan, Eric Goldberg, Steve List, and David Ritchie, edited by eric goldberg. 



Conflict simulations ere well-suited for 
exploring future and fantastic crises. The 
past decade has seen science fiction and fan- 
tasy games become increasingly popular. 
The reviews that follow are intended as both 
guides for the purchaser and as a retrospec- 
tive for "veteran" gamers. 

Each gams is given a capsule review. 
The initials of the company thai produces the 
game will be found in parentheses after the 
game title; consult the list of companies for 
the name and address of the producer. The 
second line lists the designer and. if there is a 
slash between the designer's and a second 
name, the developer. The components and 
price are listed in italic type; the price will 
generally to an indicator of the size and stur- 
diness of the components. The body of the 
review concludes with a numerical rating for 
the game, so the reader may see the relative 
"worth" of the game in the eyes of the 
reviewer. 

For those to whom individual reviewer 
biases matter, the reviewers are identified by 
their intials at the conclusion of each review. 

The numerical ratings of the games may 
be interpreted as follows; 
1 — Without redeeming social value 
.2— Terrible 
3— Poor 

4— Below average 
5 — Fair or average 

6— Good 

7— Very good 

8— Excellent 

9 — Great I one of the best) 

The following list of company addresses 
is provided for readers who wish to contact 
the publishers forfuTther information: 
AH: The Avalon Hill Game Company, 4517 

Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214. 
EG: Excalibre Games, Inc., P.O. Box 

29171, Brooklyn Center, MN 55429, 
EP: Eon Products, 96 Stockton Street, 

Dorchester, MA 02124. 
FQUI: Fantasy Games Unlimited, Inc., 

P.O. Box 182, Rosfyn, NY 11576. 
GDW: Game Designer's Workshop, 203 

North Street. Normal. IL 61761. 
MC: Metagamino, Concepts, Box 15346, 

Austin, TX 78761. 
OSG: Operational Studies Group, 1261 

Broadway. New York, NY 10001. 
SPI: Simulations Publications, Inc., 257 

Park Ave. South. New York, NY 10010. 
TC: The Chaosium, P.O. Box 6302, 

Albany, CA 94706 



TFG: Task Force Games, 405 South 

Crockett, Amarillo. TX 79106. 
TSB: Tactical Studies Rules, P.O Box 756, 

Lake Geneva, Wl 53174. 
YP: Yaquinto Publications, P.O. Box 

24767, Dallas, TX 75224. 
ZE: Zocchi Enterprises, 01956 Pass Road. 

Gulfport, MS 39501. 

Science Fiction 

After the Holocaust (SPI) 

R. SimonsenVI. Hardy 

One 22" by 34" map, 400 playing pieces, 144 
pieces of play money, four 4-page Chans and 
tables. 20-page rules, six-sided die, pasteboard 
box and counter tray. $14.00. 
This is as much an economic model as it is a 
wargame. America and Canada have been 
devastated by a nuclear holocaust. Each 
player controls a section of the country 
which is attempting to reconstruct a central 
government. The heart of the game is the 
management of the labor pool, natural 
resources, transportation net, and the 
balance of trade with the other regions (Far 
West, Southwest, Midwest and Northeast). 
Though the game deals with complex con- 
cepts, it is a relatively simple economic 
model. The rules are muddy in places, and 
economic realities limit the "payoff" a player 
can receive for good play. However, After 
the Holocaust is a fine teaching device and 
an intriguing game. It falls short as a simula- 
tion only because of the difficult nature of its 
subject. The patient or the studious gamer 
will find After the Holocaust a worthwhile in- 
vestment. 7IEG) 

Asteroid Zero-Four (TFG) 

S. Cole 

16.5' by 21 .5" map. 273 playing pieces, strategic 
display, 20-page rules, resealable plastic bag. 
$3.95. 

There are these two fortified island bases 
somewhere in the Pacific, covered with air- 
fields and missile launches and flak and just 
wai.. .Whoops! There are these two 
asteroids out in space, serving as bases for 
mining operations but nevertheless armed to 
the teeth with missile and spacecraft 
(fighters and bombers), launching and ser- 
vice facilities, defensive lasers and engineer 
gangs for damage repair. Solar flares 
threaten to cut off traffic with Earth, so the 
U.S. and Soviet high commands see it as an 
opportunity to cripple the other's vital mining 
operations in an isolated campaign to be 



finished before forces from Earth can in- 
terfere. Timing is of essence in this game — 

outguessing your opponent while his CAP 
ipardon me, that's Combat Space Patrol) is 
down for servicing. However, the key to the 
game is the static defenses: missiles to pick 
off the incoming ships at long range and 
lasers to swallow up those who close. Mass- 
ed attacks are necessary to saturate these 
defenses. While this game is not particularly 
good science fiction, itisfun to play. 6(SL} 



BattleFleet Mars (SPI) 

B. Hessel & R. Simonsen/G. Costikyan 
Two 22" by 34" maps, 400 playing pieces, 2 record 
keeping pads, 2 distance measures. 28-page rules, 
2 Six-Sided dice, pasteboard box and counter tray. 
415.00. 

As the close of the 21st century draws nigh, 
the colonists on Mars, several asteroids, and 
the moons of Jupiter wish to cut their ties 
with the Ares Corporation. That corporation, 
headquartered on Earth, has been exploiting 
its field workers by making Mars a "company 
planet." Ares will not let its lucrative profit 
margins be reduced, and so the colonists go 
to war. The resulting conflict is examined at 
two levels: ship-to-ship and in overview. The 
tactical game pioneered an excellent three-di- 
mensional movement system, a streamlined 
method for recording ship functions, and a 
realistic combat system (i.e., in its extrapola- 
tion of current science and weapons sys- 
tems). In short, the game is "hard" science 
fiction. Unfortunately, the tactical version 
has Several weaknesses as a game, chief 
among them being the non-dependence of 
ships upon each other (which eliminates 
most positional play). The strategic game, on 
the other hand, is worth the price of the game 
alone. The design encompasses the revolu- 
tion of the planets about the sun and the 
movement of ships according la Newtonian 
Law, and includes an elegant political sys- 
tem. The object is not to win a purely military 
victory — a goal neither side can really afford 
— but to place enough economic, military 
and political pressure on the other side to 
force capitulation. To this end. players may 
perform sabotage, implant spies, attempt as- 
sassination (of spies), and negotiate truces. 
Each turn the players consult the political 
indices and determine how news of the war 
affects their respective populaces. Every time 
there is a battle, it may be resolved using the 
tactical game, or via a simplified stra tegic ver- 
sion. BattleFleet Mars remains one of the bet- 
ter science fiction games. 8t£Qr 



Belter (GDW) 

M. Miller& F. Chadwick 
22' by 28" map, 480 playing pieces, 3 sheets of 
charts and tables, 12-page rules, 1 die, pasteboard 
box. $11.98. 

Belter'is a multi-player game in which players 
take the roles of the leaders of great mining 
corporations which are in competition for the 
wealth of the asteriod belt. Competition is by 
political, economic and military means (on 
the theory, apparently, that there ain't too 
much law and order out in them thar aster- 
oids). Features include: prospecting and 
mining system, maintenance rules, a system 
for recruiting personnel, a nice rule on labor 
relations (transferring personnel, riots, 
strikes, etc.), shipping and equipment pur- 
chase rules. The advanced game brings into 
play the PKF (Peace Keeping Force), dedi- 
cated to protecting the industrialized states 
back on Earth. The PKF Player wins by maxi- 
mizing price for the products of the belt. 
That player may also accept bribes (if simula- 
tions are teaching devices, then...). When 
greedy corporate players are allowed to 
revolt against the PKF, it is a bit too much of 
a good thing, since it takes Belter out of the 
realm of limited conflict and into a more con- 
ventional setting of revolt and repression 
that muddies the basic themes of the game. 
Still and all, an interesting product with 
much to recommend it. Moderately com- 
plex, and playable in an afternoon. 7(DR) 



Blood tree Rebellion (GDW) 

L Willis/J. Harshman 

22" by 28" map. 480 playing pieces, city maps 
display. 4 organization displays, 16-page rules, I 
die, pasteboard box. $12.98. 
The human-colonized planet Somber is oc- 
cupied by a clone regiment whose purpose is 
to insure the exploitation of the planet by the 
Petrochem Orionid interstellar cartel. Need- 
less to say, the indigenous populace is less 
than thrilled by the presence of these futuris- 
tic Hessians. Accordingly, they rebel. Deep 
within the Bloodtree forests they set up their 
sanctuary and begin a guerilla campaign 
against their oppressors. This is the frame- 
work of the game. Within that framework, 
the rules allow for agitprop, assassinations, 
kidnappings, riots, demonstrations, arrests 
(and prison breaks), desertions from the 
ranks of loyal troops, espionage and most of 
the other elements of modern insurgency. 
Interestingly enough, if you remove the sf 
trappings, you have a very accurate treatise 
on the "little wars" of our own age. Some- 
what complex, but playable within a few 
hours. Buck Rogers goes to Vietnam. 6(DR) 

Chitin: I (MC) 

H. Thompson 

8.5" by 14" map, 112 uncut playing pieces. 
24-page rules (largely advertising/, resea/able plas- 
tic bag. $2.95. 

Science fiction provides many possibilities, 
most of which have not yet been explored by 
wargaming companies. Luckily, the designer 
of Chitin: I is a Jack Vance fan who saw fit to 
borrow an idea from his idol. The game posits 
a planet dominated by intelligent insects who 
regularly slaughter each other in "harvest 
wars," fought for the rich vlaros which the 
hive uses for sustenance. The game uses a 
standard "move/fight" sequence of play for 
two sides. The design departs from the norm 
when it liberally doles out combat bonuses by 



unit type, making for a tactical daisy chain in 
which one unit type is extremely effective 
against a second type which is effective 
against a third type, etc. While the combat 
units are busy rending and tearing at the 
psychic behest of leader types called 
"basics," the workers scramble around try- 
ing to snag as much vlaros as possible. Fairly 
short and simple. Lots of fun. Those with a 
taste for the bizarre will appreciate their units' 
ability to eat friendly casualties. 5IDRI 

Colony Delta (FGUI) 

A. Gruen 

Two mounted 1 1 " by 17' maps, 2 sheets of playing 
pieces (about half blank!, 13-page rules, one die, 
pasteboard box. $12.00. 

Humans and aliens join in a brushfire war 
over a rich colony world. The humans (from 
Earth) compete with the"Siggies" (from Sig- 
ma Draconis, and suitably bug-eyed), both 
claiming the planet because of their colo- 
nists. Winning is by Victory Points, which are 
gained by farming and mining the planet, not 
fighting the enemy. Indeed, purchasing 
troops costs Victory Points, rather than 
money, so a purely military campaign could 
win battles at the expense of losing the war. 
As an added fillip, the planet has semi-intelli- 
gent (whatever that means) native life which 
dislikes all aliens. This is abstracted in an attri- 
tion rule, which is supplanted by alien units in 
the advanced game. The chief drawback 
with the basic game is the lack of action. 
Each player may only make six round-trip 
deliveries to the planet in twelve turns, and 
must use these to bring in everything (not 
only colonists). The advance game removes 
these limits, but will last for a decent while. 
5/SU 

Dixie (SPI) 

R. Simonsen/J. Nelson 

17"by22" map, 100 playing pieces. 12-page rules. 

If some preparatory text were included with 
this package, it could be titled "How Not to 
Design a Wargame." It seems the Confed- 
eracy secured a peace treaty from the Union 
at the end of the Civil War by mutual exhaus- 
tion, and so remained independent. It is now 
the midst of the Depression, and war has 
begun anew. The rationale is plausible, but 
the game robs it of its credence. First, both 
sides begin the game with virtually identical 
forces. This may work well in chess and Go, 
but those are not played on a map of the 
United States. The real culprit is the Admini- 
strative Point system, which is structured so 
that the player with the greater number of 
points is the winner, given at least mediocre 
play. There area host of other problems, but 
this dead horse has had the skin flayed off it 
long ago. Of course, one should not waste 
time or money on Dixie, but students of the 
history of wargames might be interested to 
know that the concept of Administrative 
Points was invented with this game. 2 (EG) 

Dune (AH) 

Future Pastimes/M. Uhl & R. Hamblen 
22" by 28" map, 3 sheets of playing pieces, 2battle 
wheels, 54 cards, player aid pad, 8-page rules, 
pasteboard box. $15.00. 

Frank Herbert's Dune has been rendered into 
game form by the designers of the estimable 
Cosmic Encounters. Gone from the transfer 
of novel to game is the "reproduce 



everything down to the protagonist's sneeze 
on page 182" approach; it is replaced by a 
game which is intended for the family mar- 
ket. Players become characters representing 
one of six different factions on Arrakis; each 
character will lead his or her faction to glory 
(i.e., control of the planet) or defeat. The 
system centers around control of spice, 
which is highly addictive and the main export 
of Arrakis. Battles are won and lost depen- 
dent on the number of spice tokens present 
in an area. Treachery, storms and the fear- 
some shai-hulud (gigantic sandworms) 
enliven affairs. Dune is a nice little game, but 
nothing special. 6(EGI 

GEV (MC) 

S. Jackson 

12" x 14" map. 135 uncut playing pieces, 24-page 

rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 



weapons systems, primarily the GEV, or 
Ground Effects Vehicle. Presumably this is 
"Son of Ogre!" It is good enough to warrant 
"Revenge of Son of Ogre." GEV is not as 
clean as Ogre, but probably has more replay 
value. There are some imaginative scenarios, 
including one involving an armored train. 
Possibly the best single micro game. 8/DR) 

Godsfire (MC) 

L. Willis 

Two 22" by 34" maps, 960 die-cut playing pieces, 
616 uncut playing pieces. 15 system sheets, 6 na- 
tional government sheets, 16-page rules, paste- 
board box. $15.95. 

Those who dream great dreams of galactic 
domination will like this one. From two to fif- 
teen players can take part, though compon- 
ents are provided for only eight. Godsfire is 
divided into a basic and an advanced game. 
The basic game concentrates on the me- 
chanics of operational space combat in three 
dimensions. The advanced game adds a 
thick pastiche of political and economic ele- 
ments, including taxation, loans, produc- 
tion, political parties, revolts, subversion, 

diplomacy, inflation, elections Well, 

anyway, there's not much left to the imagi- 
nation. Either the basic or advanced games 
would have been quite interesting alone, if 
further developed. Taken together in unpro- 
cessed form, they are a wee bit too much. 
The amount of data the players are asked to 
handle can be immense even when only two 
are competing. Quite long and complex but 
definitely worth a good look, if systems 
politics in the far future is your bag. 5/DRI 



Holy War (MC) 

L. Willis 

12" by 14" map. 135 uncut playing pieces. 24-page 
rules, resea/able plastic bag. $2.95. 
Amtik is a nebulous, space-dwelling creature 
some 400,000 kilometers long. Out of scienti- 
fic curiosity, it has enclosed a cosmic anoma- 
ly within itself, and created a pocket uni- 
verse. Unanticipated intelligent life devel- 
oped on the planets in this universe and 
discovered seams on either end of Amtik, 
which led to a religious schism. The resulting 
war between the Holy War, who believed in 
Amtik as a god, and the Sun Throwers, who 
wished to give Amtik a "hot-seam" by hurl- 
ing a star into a seam, was rather bloody. If 
the player is interested in the struggle, that is 
too bad. The rules to Holy War are extremely 



difficult to decipher, and, as the game is in- 
terpreted by the designer, only one side may 
win. The design concepts are worthy of a 
true development being essayed on the 
game; hopefully, Metagaming will see fit to 
do so. 2 (EG) 

Ice War {MO 

K. Gross 

8.5' by 14" map, 135 uncut playing piaces, 
24-page rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 
Metagaming apparently decided that SPt 
should not have a monopoly on arctic war- 
fare and anagrammatic national names. This 
one postulates a raid by something called the 
Eurasian Socialist Alliance on the oil fields at 
Prudhoe Bay within the larger context of a 
USA-ESA war. Included are a variety of unit 
types, among them sled-borne troops, infan- 
try and outposts, as well as others. There is 
heavy emphasis on limited intelligence and 
the effect of various weapons on the ice pack 
off the bay. Playable in 45 minutes or less. 
Simple, butfun. 7IDR) 

I m peri urn (GDW) 

M. Miller 

22" by 28" map, 352 playing pieces, twosheetsof 
charts and tables, 12-page rules, 1 die, pasteboard 
box. $9.98. 

This one has Terra as the home of the barbar- 
ians who have come in contact with the an- 
cient and powerful (but decadent) Imperium. 
Much of the game is fairly standard fare; the 
infrastructure of limited conflict between a 
young, self-confident, somewhat savage 
civilization (our own) and the older, less 
cocksure culture of the Imperium is what 
really powers this design. Since the sector 
portrayed is little more than a backwater in 
the vastness of the Empire, a problem could 
have arisen in the game balance (i.e., the 
likelihood that a galactic Empire could easily 
crush upstart Earth). The designer has neatly 
solved the problem with a minor gem of a 
system: The Glory Index. Basically, the con- 
flict becomes one of Terran barbarians ver- 
sus the Provincial Governor of the sector 
(who wins by accumulating Glory Points, 
representing the number of times his name is 
mentioned in a positive light at the Imperial 
court). This is either a serendipitous design 
or a cold-blooded development of a classic. 
Nicely conceived and beautifully executed. A 
moderately complex game, playable in a few 
hours. 8(DRI 

Invasion: America (SPI) 

J. Dunnigan/J. Nelson 

Two 22" by 34" maps, 400 playing pieces, 16-page 
rules, six-sided die, pasteboard box and counter 
tray. $18.00. 

A paranoid patriot's nightmare is simulated 
in this near future history game. The United 
States' position in the world power structure 
has been reduced considerably; in fact, the 
other three world powers have decided to 
annex the U.S. and Canada for their material 
riches. A coalition of South American, Euro- 
pean and Far Eastern countries (whose 
names are rendered as alphabet soup) spear- 
head the invasion, supported by the Soviet 
Union, which has developed laser technol- 
ogy capable of destroying nuclear weapon- 
ry. The action takes place on a beautiful map 
of North America and, for a large game, 
plays quite well. The concept of "untried" 
units was first used here (i.e., a player does 



not know the strength of a unit until it is in- 
volved in combat). The system covers am- 
phibious landings, air and naval action 
(though the U.S. Navy has already been 
sunk). There are serious problems in the sce- 
nario victory conditions and some of the 
miscellaneous rules; the game is not one this 
writer would play more than once. There was 
enough interest in the system, however, to 
do a game in which the Soviet Union got the 
same treatment [Objective: Moscow). 

6 1 EG) 

Mayday (GDW) 

F. Chadwick 

Four 8" by 11" maps, 120 playing pieces, 8-page 
rules, resealable plastic bag. $5.00. 
This game may be played by itself or plugged 
into GDW's Travellers a ship-to-ship com- 
bat resolution module. The simple vector 
movement system utilizes counters to repre- 
sent the past, present and future position of 
each ship in the hexf ield. The combat system 
features missiles distinguished by propulsion 
and guidance types, but also includes lasers. 
Combat, maneuver and navigation are all af- 
fected by the capacity of the ship's computer 
and the program currently in progress (a nice 
touch). Relatively simple. Playable within 
two hours. 6IDR) 

Ogre (MO 

S. Jackson 

8.6" by 14" map, 112 uncut playing pieces, 
24-page rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 
The first of the MicroGames, Ogre started an 
avalanche of small, fast, playable games 
which continues to this day. The basic sce- 
nario pits the "unstoppable thing," in this 
case a 50-meter high cybernetic super-tank, 
against a conventional force of 21st century 
cannon fodder (infantry, howitzers, several 
varieties of tank, and something called a 
Ground Effects Vehicle or GEV). The Ogre 
player keeps a record of his available 
missiles, state of his treads and the condi- 
tions of his main and secondary batteries and 
anti-personnel weapons systems. His oppo- 
nent just throws everything available at the 
Ogre and prays a lot. Playable in 20 minutes 
once the system is understood. A panzer 
freak's ultimate dream. 7(DR) 

Olympica (MC) 

L. Willis 

8" by 14" map, 96 uncut playing pieces, 24-page 
rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 
U.N. forces are attempting to raid Mars to 
capture the "Web Mind Generator," which 
closely resembles a big, bright green plea- 
sure machine that turns all under its influ- 
ence into dedicated servants of the Web. 
The dedicated men and women of the ex- 
pedition face fanatical webbie infantry dug 
into strongpoints inside their tunnels. The 
U.N. troops do have all manner of sophisti- 
cated weaponry, laser tanks for support and 
a giant drill to break into the tunnels holding 
the machine. The game borrows quite 
shamelessly from Heinlein's Starship 
Troopers, but for all that (and despite a really 
horrible map) is fairly interesting and fun. 
Playableinanhourorso. Moderately simple. 
5 (DP) 

Outreach (SPI) 

I. Hardy/B. Hessel 

22" by 34" map, 400 playing pieces, 2 charts and 



The Outreach rationale completes the future 
history begun with StarForce. After the 
human race has surpassed the other races 
within twenty-five light years of Sol through 
a series of interstellar wars, it is ready to 
struggle for galactic hegemony. The ability 
to explore and colonize becomes as potent a 
weapon as military might. The technicolor 
map portrays most of our galaxy, with each 
hex coded for its habitability, how navigable 
it is, etc. The unique system allows for the 
creation of alliances, setting up colonies, and 
discovering the center of the galaxy (where 
some incredibly ancient race has left records 
of the secrets of the ages), etc. Outreach has 
enough play value to entertain the first few 
times it is played, but then degenerates into a 
mathematical puzzle. Still, the ideas and 
general direction of the design allow the 
enterprising player to design a much better 
game. 6 (EG) 

Snapshot (GDW) 

M. Miller 

17" by 22" map, 120 playing pieces, chart sheet, 
28-page rules, 2 dice, pasteboard box. $7.98. 
The folks at GDW do come up with strange 
titles — Snapshot is a game of sentient- 
being to sentient-being combat aboard a 
ship in deep space environment. The game 
may be linked with Traveller, presumably 
whenever there is a mutiny, a boarding ac- 
tion (shades of the Jolly Roger!) or over- 
eager customs officials. Discussions of the 
improbability of a ship being hijacked in deep 
space aside, this game is a reasonable stand- 
alone adventure (four scenarios are includ- 
ed). Snapshot has the distinction of having 
the largest combat results table in all of war- 
gaming — it spans 'o pages. The scale is 15 
seconds a turn and 1 .5 meters to the square. 
A section on character generation is included 
for those who do not have the parent game. 
Slightly more complicated than necessary, 
but fairly playable. Adventures can take half 
an hour or an afternoon. 5 (EG) 

StarForce (SPI) 

R. Simonsen/J. Young 
22" by 34" map, 200 playing pieces, 24-page rules, 
plot pad, six-sided die, pasteboard box and 
counter tray. $12.00. 

Earth has sent her children to the stars, 
where they will meet and do battle with other 
races. Interstellar travel is an inexact science, 
requiring the use of specially-designed "tele- 
ships" run by strongly telesthetic and mildly 
telekinetic women. Since such women are 
extremely rare, Earth's capability to wage 
war (not to mention commerce) is very 
limited. The aliens have similar problems, so 
the result of each war is a huge number of 
civilian losses and the capture of the losing 
race's home planet. Despite the grim nature 
of the rationale, the game itself is 
"bloodless." Ships may be moved an 
unlimited distance on the stellar display 
(which extends three-dimensional ly 21 light 
years from Sol); however, the further a ship 
attempts to move, the less certain its chance 
of arriving at the desired destination. Com- 
bat results in the vanquished ship being neu- 
tralized, or randomly teleported to another 
location. Battles are conducted on a small 
tactical display, with a ship's strength being 
dependent on its range from its target and on 
how the owning player wishes to allocate 



that strength (offensively or defensively). 
Play can seem very stale at times, due to the 
peculiarities of the system. StarForce was 
the first mass .market science fiction 
wargame, and holds up remarkably well. 

6 (EG) 

Star Quest (OSG) 

E. Curran/T. Walczyk 

11* by 17" map, 100 playing pieces, one plot 
sheet, 4-page rules, resealable plastic bag. S3.S5. 
This is a limited scope tactical spaceship 
combat game. Each of the two to six players 
controls one ship and up to six missiles at 
onetime. Movement is plotted prior to its ex- 
ecution along the X and Y axes (which is dis- 
torted due to the use of a hexgrid). The 
movement is pseudo-Newtonian, as velocity 
from prior turns carries over, and the gravita- 
tional effects of the star are felt at close 
enough range. Combat is resolved by missile 
only — if a missile passes through a ship 
counter, both are removed from play. This 
allows for rather stark victory conditions, in 
that the winner is the last player on the 
board. Ships may also be moved via "hyper- 
space jump" which positions ships randomly 
on the board. As a space combat game, it is 
more realistic than most, in that it almost 
obeys the laws of physics. It is also one that 
pays off both on the ability to plan ahead and 
react quickly. If one ignores the rationale (the 
game is based on a coin-operated game), 
and the minor inconvenience of photocopy- 
ing the plot sheets, it is a serviceable little 
game. 5 ISU 

Starship Troopers (AH) 

R. Reed 

22" by 28" map, 2 sheets of playing pieces, I map 
pad, I chart sheet, 24-page rules, I die, paste- 
board box. $12.00. 

Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers is 
regarded as a science fiction classic; it is an 
anti-fascist satire written during the 1950's. 
The story is told from the viewpoint of sol- 
diers in the service of an Earth with imperial 
aspirations. First, the humanoid Skinnies are 
conquered (and become subject allies), and 
then the Arachnids are annihilated. The 
game examines the conflict at a tactical level: 
almost all the scenarios concern a landing by 
Terrans into enemy territory. The system 
used to simulate these future battles is a Pan- 
zerBlitz derivative Iwhich is a game of WWII 
Eastern Front battles). Of course, there are 
many rules to account for the special nature 
of an atmospheric landing — and also for the 
peculiarities of the alien cultures. The 
emplacement of the Arachnid tunnels, 
which is crucial to the play of the most in- 
teresting scenarios, is handled via a plot pad. 
The play of the game will prove interesting 
for the first few times, but then the simula- 
tion value of the game will be exhausted — 
this cannot stand on its own as a game. The 
designer should not be held wholly responsi- 
ble for this problem, since simulating an 
aspect of a popular novel is almost as diffi- 
cult as fitting the proverbial square peg in a i 
round hole. Simulation of a novel proves 
harder than that of history because the 
designer must satisfy both those who wish 
rigorous attention to detail and those who 
want a fun game. 5IEGI 

Stellar Conquest (MC) 

H. Thompson 

17" by 22" map, 480 playing pieces, SOstarcards, 



The classic game of inter-stellar system war- 
fare. One to four players start in their respec- 
tive corners of the map and come out col- 
onizing. As the number of star systems 
under their control increases, the players 
almost inevitably come into contact and con- 
flict with each other. Rules include system 
exploration, ship-to-ship and ship-to-planet 
combat, the effects of technological 
research, production and population in- 
creases, and conquest of colonies. Extensive 
record keeping is required in play, but the 
payoff for all that writing is fairly substantial. 
After five years and three printings, the game 
remains almost as fresh and exciting as the 
day it was published. Somewhat complex 
and long, but can be completed in an after- 
noon. 7<DR) 

Traveller (GDW) 

M. Miller 



The game contains three booklets dealing 
with generating, supplying and adventuring 
with an imaginary character. The basic game 
allows characters to become explorers, free 
traders, con men, etc., within the general- 
ized context of a sprawling, loosely organ- 
ized Imperium. Succeeding releases in the 
series expanding upon Traveller include: 
Mercenary (rules for generating army and 
marine types and details on training and 
combat). High Guard (rules for the organiza- 
tion and use of various navies within the 
Traveller construct), 1001 Characters and 
Animal Encounters (p re-gen era ted charac- 
ters and beasties for those too lazy to make 
their own). The Spinward Marches (maps 
and tables of information on one Imperial 
subsector), Citizens (more spoonfed charac- 
ters), Mayday and Snapshot (games which 
may be played separately or to resolve bat- 
tles in the Traveller cons\ruc\) md Kinunir [a 
programmed adventure using the Traveller 
rules). This game starts where Dungeons 
and Dragons left off, but, if there is any 
justice, will end up being more popular than 
that venerable relic. For one thing, the 
Traveller rules are fairly consistent (moreso 
than is usual for such games). For another, 
unlike the first generation of role-playing 
games, this one requires no referee or 
gamesmaster. Somewhat complex. Variable 
playing time. 

8/DR) 



Science Fantasy 

Alien Space (ZE) 

L. Zocchi 

36-page rules, eight 4"x4" cardstock playing 
pieces, resealable plastic bag. $7.00. 
Alien Space was one of the first commerci- 
ally published games dealing with tactical 
space combat. There is no board; instead, 
each ship is represented by a 3-inch square 
with a ship silhouette and a 360° compass 
rose superimposed. The squares are placed 
on the table (or floor, if you live in an apart- 
ment and don't have room for ping-pong) 
and movement is conducted by measuring 
distances with a yardstick. Ship data — 
speed, power allocation, damage status, and 
so forth — are recorded on data sheets pro- 



vided in the rules (which must be xeroxed if 
they are to be reused). Combat is conducted 
using a rather simple system; a string is fas- 
tened to the middle of each ship's square, 
and when it is his turn to fire, a player esti- 
mates the angle at which his ship must fire, 
then lays the string out along this angle on 
the ship's compass rose — if the string inter- 
sects the enemy ship, it has been hit. This is 
not precisely realistic, but it produces a fast- 
moving and enjoyable game. Alien Space is 
not for the hard-core simulations freak, but 
it's certainly a pleasant way to kill an after- 
noon. 6/GCI 

Atlantis: 12,500 B.C. (EG) 

D. O'Leary 

22" by 28" map, 74 playing pieces, 1111 page rules, 
resealable plastic bag. $3.40. 
This goober was designed for the esthetically 
retarded. The components include a map, of 
sorts, showing the world of 12,500 B.C. 
replete with a few extra continents, perfo- 
rated counters reminiscent of the worst of 
Zap Comix, and the aforementioned single 
rules page. If you are into the turgid 
nonsense churned out by Erik von Daniken 
and company, this should please you no 
end. The premise is that Mu and Greece are 
locked in a death struggle with Atlantis in 
which such exotic weapons as hovercraft, 
rocket bombers and flying saucers vie with 
(presumably spear-armed) infantry, giants 
and mythological monsters. Double uggh! 
The rules are so sketchy as to be non-exis- 
tent and, if it weren't for the fact that this re- 
gurgitation of low-grade pulpdom's worst 
sins is so unintentionally funny, the game 
would long ago have been confiscated by the 
Surgeon-General as hazardous to our mental 
health. By all means, do throw your money 
away on this. KDRI 

Black Hole (MC) 

R. Taylor 

8.5" by 21" map, 135 uncut playing pieces, 
24-page rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 
Black Hole has two sides duking it out over a 
doughnut-shaped asteroid with the unfortu- 
nate name of Dunkin, In the center of the 
asteroid is a black hole (quick, recall all astro- 
physical texts and have them revised to ac- 
count for this amazing discovery). The uni- 
que shape of the battlefield provides most of 
the interest of the game. Since most of the 
weapons with which units landed on Dunkin 
are projectile- types, the various missiles tend 
to whiz off the map and come around the 
other side in a turn or two (which makes for a 
good deal of uncertainty). Oh, yes, there's 
the black hole from which the game takes its 
name. Actually, the black hole doesn't have 
much effect on play, except to randomly 
radiate units trying to jump across the hole 
from one side of the doughnut to the other. 
However, it does make a hell of a good title. 
Playable in an hour or so. Moderately simple. 

6 torn 
Cosmic Encounter (EP) 

Future Pastimes 

5hex "tiles," 80 plastic playing pieces, Wcolored 
discs, 54 playing cards, 15 Alien Power cards, 
cardboard cone, pasteboard box. $12.00. 
Cosmic Encounter is a game you're going to 
be seeing more of, like it or not. It is by no 
means a wargame; it is a relatively simple, 



mass- market-oriented game. It is also a clas- 
sic, and despite Eon Products' small size and 
distribution, it is destined to become one of 
America's favorite games — on a par with 
Monopoly and Risk. Each player controls a 
single solar system with five planets. His ob- 
jective is to gain bases on five planets outside 
his home system. Combat and conflict is 
handled according to an extremely simple 
system, which is explicitly described in 500 
words of rules. But a game of Cosmic En- 
counter is considerably more complicated — 
and wilder — than those simple rules would 
imply- You see, each player has a Power, 
which allows him to break, change, or cir- 
cumvent one or several provisions of the 
rules (depending on his power). The result is 
a weird, constantly mutating, and gripping 
game that does not lose its appeal even after 
innumerable playings. The addition of any of 
the four expansion sets makes Cosmic En- 
counter even more fascinating. 9fGC) 

The Creature that Ate 

Sheboygan (SPI) 

G. Costikyan 

11" by 17" map, 100 playing pieces, two 1-page 
charts and tables, 4-page rules, pasteboard box or 
resealable plastic bag. $5.95 boxed, $3.95 soft- ' 

It's 1:30 a.m., and all regular programming 
for this independent TV station is over. Now, 
insomniac viewers are treated to Gorgo, the 
giant dinosaur/ape/ insect methodically de- 
stroying an English /Japanese/ Midwestern 
city, because pollution/radiation/an ancient 
curse made the fearsome beastie grow large 
and ornery. No matter how highbrow you 
fancy yourself, you probably have not es- 
caped such a film. Creature is a delightful 
treatment of this genre, pitting one player as 
the monster versus the other player as the 
National Guard, police and populace of She- 
boygan. The monster is constructed from an 
initial allotment of Strength Points, while hu- 
man forces are chosen via a similar method. 
The monster comes rampaging onto the 
board, burning city blocks, grabbing helicop- 
ters and munching on them, and using any of 
its special abilities (flying, web-spinning, 
lightning throwing) to terrorize the innocent 
citizens. Tanks and guns then enter the fray, 
and the game almost always proves tense. 
Six different monster counters are provided, 
so a player's favorite monster may be used. 
Since Creature even appeals to non-gamers, 
nooneshould be without a copy. 9IEGI 

Double Star (GDW) 

M. Miller 

22" by 28" map, 480 playing pieces, 2 sheets of 
charts and tables, 8-page rules, 1 die, pasteboard 
box- $9.98. 

An Islamic culture and a Chinese culture 
have settled separate planets of a binary 
system. The Chinese, having settled the 
poorer of the planets, ultimately attempt to 
increase their living standard via military 
means. The premise.of the game is sociolo- 
gically absurd. The science is almost equally 
ludicrous (the planets of this system are not 
inhabitable as described), but the game is so 
much fun that lapses in logic are soon forgot- 
ten. What powers the game is the insertion 
of minor touches of detail at the right places, 
creating a patina of verisimilitude through- 
out. Fairly detailed interaction between 
fleets and planetary defense systems, nice 
mechanics for entering and exiting planetary 



gravitational fields, and use of formations in 
fleet engagements are all included to good 
effect. A nice touch is the "training" rule 
which limits the effectiveness of fleet units 
which have not operated together for a suffi- 
cient period to employ formations. All in all, 
this is a honey that chooses to entertain by 
doing a few things and doing them well. 
Playable, rather than definitive, you might 
say. Moderately complex. May be played in 
an afternoon. 7{DRI 

Freedom in the Galaxy (SPI) 

H. Barasch & J. Butterfield 
22" by 34" map, 400 playing pieces, 140cards, 12- 
and 32-page rules, 2 six-sided dice, pasteboard 
box and counter tray. S19.95. 
A disclaimer at the beginning of the rules 
book might read "Any resemblance between 
this game and an extremely popular movie is 
purely intentional." That's right, kids, there 
is this evil Galactic Empire being opposed by 
a small but valiant band of rebels, including 
The Incredibly Brave Young Hayseed, The 
Lovely Princess Who Satisfies Her Con- 
science, The Wise Old Man, etc. The required 
villains are at Stage Left. Freedom is divided 
into a Star System, a Province and a Galactic 
Game, so players may choose the level of in- 
volvement (and concommitant amount of 
timet in the game. The map displays the 
inhabitable star systems of the Empire, and is 
extremely attractive. However, most of the 
action is conducted via the character and ac- 
tion cards. Characters are used to perform 
missions on key planets — these can vary 
from sabotage, recruiting allies, and starting 
or stopping rebellions to leading an army 
against the foe. The rules format allows 
players to layer on sophistication, up to the 
Planetary Stabilizer (Empire jargon for a wea- 
pon capable of destroying an entire planet — 
no John Dykstra special effects included). 
The game is marred by the cutesy approach 
used in naming characters and places; many 
are simply anagrams for S PI staffers' names, 
bad puns, or true nonsense words. How- 
ever, the amount of care that went into the 
game and the smooth flow of play make 
Freedom a very good game. It is certainly the 
most professional development effort in 
science fiction and fantasy this past year. 

7(EG) 

Invasion of the Air Eaters (MC) 

K. Gross 

12" by 14" map, 135 uncut playing pieces, 24-page 
rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 
Alien creatures cast covetous eyes upon fair 
Mother Earth, but must transform the atmo- 
sphere to sulfur dioxide before they can 
breathe it. The aliens begin with a mother- 
ship and base, plus a few other units. A base 
may be used to build another base, combat 
units or atmospheric converters. The latter is 
used to alter the atmospheric index toward 
zero; if it gets there, the aliens have their ver- 
sion of clean air. The earthlings begin with 
armies and submarine fleets, neither of 
which is very useful for attacking the aliens. 
Numerous more effective types can be built, 
but Industrial Units must be expended to 
have a chance of building such units. The 
number of available lU's is limited by alien ac- 
tivity. The design should have made for an 
intriguing game of management as well as 
combat, but the aliens never lose. This may 
be a design statement that certain corpora- 
tions have saturated the atmosphere with 



too much sulfur dioxide already, but it does 
ruin the play value of the game. 4 ISL) 

John Carter (SPI) 

M. Herman & E. Goldberg/E. Goldberg 
22' by 34" map, 400 playing pieces, 168 cards, 
two 8-page charts and tables, 16- and 28-page 
rules, six- and twenty-sided dice, pasteboard box 
and counter tray. $19.95. 

John Carter \s a character role-playing game 
based on the E.R. Burroughs' "Barsoom" 
series. The rules to this game are presented 
in a semi-modular format, offering a number 
of possible "games." These range in subject 
matter from a superfluous Military Game 
through three levels of character games (The 
Duelling Game, The City Sub-Game and The 
Strategic Game). With the exception of the 
Military Game, all of the modules present the 
same basic structure; a villain has captured 
the fair love of the protagonist and must be 
given his just deserts by the hero. The 
distressed damsel must be rescued before 
she is subjected to "unspeakable acts" 
(think about it) at the hands of the villain 
and/or his henchmen. The differences are in 
the scope of the scenarios. Where the Duel- 
ling Game deals with the denouement of the 
hero's quest, the City Game places him at the 
penultimate decision point of the story (seek- 
ing to come to swordpoint with the villain 
once he has traced him to a city), and the 
Strategic Game starts at the very beginning, 
with the hero pursuing his lost lady love and 
her evil abductor across the vast expanses of 
Barsoom. All three levels can be used 
together within the Strategic Game. The 
game is notable in that winning is not all . . . 
not by a long shot. Like Burroughs' original 
heroes, their cardboard counterparts must 
win only by fair means. To win by engaging 
in foul acts — which, among other things, 
loses the love and respect of your lady — 
means that, in game terms, you've lost the 
whole enchilada. For the first time in the 
history of the hobby, a game has been built 
around such themes as love, romance, 
treachery, remorse, hatred and friendship. 
The only thing which happily remains vague 
is just what happens between the time John 
Carter and Dejah Thoris tie the nuptial knot 
and Carthoris appears on the scene. Some- 
what complex. The Strategic Game plays in 
about 6 hours. Other games take con- 
siderably less time. 8/Dft) 

Lords of the Middle Sea (TC) 

L. Willis 

22"x34" map, 240 playing pieces, 16-page rules, 
4 chart sheets, resealable plastic bag. $10.00. 
Nuclear holocausts have been credited with 
causing many a future North America, but 
none so delightfully bizarre as that described 
in Lords of the Middle Sea. The Middle Sea 
of the title occupies what was once the Mid- 
dle West, and elsewhere the geography of 
the Americas is pretty much the same. 
Several quasi-feudal kingdoms have arisen, 
and many of these ply their trade across the 
Middle Sea. Still others ship goods by 
devices which resemble ornithopters. The 
heads of state in this latter-day America have 
developed magic, and are much feared for it. 
However, the game is not a fantasy game 
with a science fiction background; rather, it 
is a well-balanced presentation of medieval 
forces doing battle with the aid of super- 
natural and technological help. While this is 
a fairly simple strategic game, there is 



enough of substance to warrant several pay- 
ings. 7IEG) 

Metamorphosis: Alpha (TSR) 

J. Ward 

32-page rules book. $5.00. 
The propulsion drive and the minds of the 
passengers on a spaceship are disco mbobu- 
lated when passing through a giant cloud of 
cosmic radiation. Furthermore, the radiation 
causes rapid mutation among all the passen- 
gers, but does not interfere with the work- 
ings of the life-support system and other in- 
ternal machinery. Since this is a role-playing 
game, each player represents a mutant who 
is theoretically trying to repair the ship's drive 
so he may go home again. In actuality, the 
player as mutant will search through the vari- 
ous rooms, attempting to gain ray guns and 
medikits and, incidentally, slaughtering the 
occupants of those rooms. If this sounds 
vaguely familiar, it's because Metamorpho- 
sis: Alpha is Dungeons and Dragons in 
space. Regrettably, one can only stretch a 
great idea so far; this offering is far too con- 
trived to gain acceptance in the minds of 
most players. Perhaps Roger Corman (king 
of science fiction B-movies) will bid for the 
film rights to the game. 3 IEGI 

Quazar {EG) 

Four 21" by 27" maps. 840 playing pieces, charts 
and tables, 6-page rules, resealable plastic bag. 
$12.00. 

The Quazarian Galaxy, a humanoid galactic 
society, is being threatened with invasion by 
something called the X-confederation. The 
two sides maneuver and conduct combat 
within the framework of a fairly standard, 
but not very complete, set of rules. The 
most innovative element in the design is the 
random appearance of secret weapons for 
both sides. The rationale is not quite as 
logical as, let's say, a Marvel Comics plot, 
but if you bought this gobbler because of 
the cover, you shouldn't expect better. Set- 
up time of about two hours with an equal 
amount of time absorbed by each Game- 
Turn (called a "time phase segment" in the 
rules). There are 40 turns in the game. Slow. 
Simple. Deadly. 2IDR1 

Rivets (MC) 

R. Taylor 

8.5" by 14" map, 112 uncut playing pieces, 
24-page rules, resealable plastic bag. $2.95. 
Rivets is a two-player game of robotic con- 
flict set sometime after the utter obliteration 
of the human race. Man may be dead, but his 
creations live on. In this case, the creations 
are the "boppers"— robotic tanks "with the 
average intelligence of an electric can 
opener." Each side's boppers are controlled, 
built and programmed by that side's BCPC 
(Bopper Control and Production Center). 
The game depends on a variation of "rocks 
break scissors" combat system, in which the 
various types of boppers are programmed by 
their BCPC to attack only one other type of 
enemy bopper. Their program can be chang- 
ed during the game, but so long as a Jack 
Bopper is programmed to attack only Tiny 
(pronounced "teeny") Boppers, they will ig- 
nore other unit types and will be at a disad- 
vantage when attacked by an enemy they are 
not programmed to attack. If if all sounds 
slightly silly. ..it is. This one is simple, and 
should be played by players with the average 



intelligence of an electric can opener. An 
average game lasts three-quarters of an 
hour. 3IDPI 



Time War (YP) 

J. Peek 

21.5" by 27.5' map, 400 playing pieces, log 
sheets, 20-page rules, 2 dice, counter tray and 
pasteboard box. $13.00. 

Time War is not a wargame in the traditional 
sense, though it surely is a "conflict simula- 
tion," The board is an abstract diagram of 
time from 550 million B.C. to 2075 A.D. 
Twelve eras of varying length are delineated 
by concentric circles. The corners of the 
board are the "bureaus," or home bases, for 
each of the players. Here they train their time 
travel agents and conduct research to im- 
prove efficiency of such travel; they are also 
sanctuaries, as fighting may only be done in 
the past. Twelve radial lines intersect the 
concentric era circles; each intersection is 
known as a "Jonbar Junction." Initially, a 
set of black arrows is placed on the junctions 
of the neutral line to show the unaltered flow 
of time. The players' objective is to alter the 
flow to their advantage. Each player holds a 
hand of three cards, each representing a spe- 
cific era. If he can make a controlled shift in 
an era for which he has a card, the black ar- 
row is replaced with one of his own color 
(players should ignore the legends on the 
cards — most are in poor taste). Combat oc- 
curs whenever two players have operatives 
at one junction, and results in the total 
elimination of one force. Thus, it is necessary 
to keep a constant flow of replacements 
heading into the fray. Since the more effec- 
tive operatives take longer to train, players 
may be forced to be gun-shy in play. The si- 
move mechanics require a more than ample 
amount of time, but do make planning and 
outthinking the opponent paramount. Time 
War is an excellent effort into a heretofore 
unexplored field, and thus many of its flaws 
should beexcused. 7fSU 

Villains & Vigilantes (FGUI) 

J. Dee& J. Herman 
One 40-page rules booklet. $6.00. 
Villains & Vigilantes is a superhero role-play- 
ing game — that is, players assume the per- 
sona of superheroes. Requisites are not 
rolled; instead, the gamesmaster assigns re- 
quisites equal to his judgment of the player's 
abilities. This is a bit silly, actually, as 
gamers tend to be introverted, bookish 
types while superheroes are brawny, Conan 
types; but the purpose here is not to argue 
with a design decision. The designers have 
obviously done extensive research, as they 
list an innumerable volume of different 
superhero powers - I can't think of any 
powers omitted from the list. Since V&V 
ostensibly follows the Comics Code, 
characters are not permitted to be super- 
villains; the Comics Code prohibits villains 
from being presented in favorable or sym- 
pathetic light. Villains Q Vigilantes is an 
imaginative, enjoyable game. Its major pro- 
blem is "creeping D<&Dism;" most of the 
game-systems are directly derived from 
D&D, and are out of place in a superhero 
rpg. Also, the short rules do not really pro- 
vide enough background material and 
world-design advice for a full-scale role- 
playing game. 6/GCI 



War in the Ice (SPI) 

P. Kosnett 

22" by 34" map, 400 playing pieces, 24-page rules, 
2 six-sided dice, pasteboard box arid counter tray. 
$12.00. 

The two. great superpowers have run out of 
African and Asian countries in which to con- 
duct their brushfire wars by the 1990's. Since 
penguins are unable to petition the United 
Nations for sanctions against invaders, the 
US and USSR get a chance to test out their 
arctic weaponry. The cost of producing such 
weaponry is quite expensive, so the number 
of vehicles and men committed to the Ant- 
arctic War is limited. The War in the Ice 
system meshes land (or snowdrift), air and 
electronic warfare. The electronic warfare 
mechanic is an excellent idea, which helps 
flesh out a rather spare skeleton of conven- 
tional game ideas. Regrettably, there is not 
enough play value in the game to make this 
potentially fascinating situation come alive. 
The various scenarios plod along until the 
players seek a more amusing diversion (such 
as throwing snowballs). Even the back- 
ground is poorly constructed: a lost civiliza- 
tion is found beneath the Antarctic surface, 
beginning another war for its technology. It's 
an amusing idea, but doesn't belong in this 
package. 4 (EG) 



Fantasy 



Annihilator/OneWorld (MC) 

W. Armintrout/J. Tucker 
8.5" by 14" and 12" by 14" maps, 135 uncut play- 
ing pieces, 24-page rules, resealable plastic bag. 
$2.95. 

OneWorld takes the childhood game of 
"rocks break scissors" and attempts to digni- 
fy it by using that system (thinly disguised) to 
power a game. The premise is a world in 
which two gods strive for dominance. Their 
children, in the form of blade, stone or fog, 
attack the rival god. The game ends when 
one god is destroyed. This one doesn't even 
qualify as cotton candy. Annihifator is even 
simpler than OneWorld, but manages to hold 
a bit more interest. A planet-killing, compu- 
ter-controlled spaceship is heading toward 
Earth and must be stopped. One player 
becomes the computer; the other leads a 
boarding party which has the task of destroy- 
ing the computer with demolition charges. 
The computer's automatic defenses (plus 
some robots) are a fairly significant challenge 
to the boarding party. The result is a nicely 
balanced game which almost succeeds in 
overcoming the flimsiness of its premise. The 
two games are playable in one-half to three- 
quarters of an hour. 2IDRI 

Beast Lord (YP) 

M. Matheny 

Two 21.5" by 27.5" maps, 640 playing pieces. 4 
set-up sheets, 4 screens, 20-page rules, 2 dice, 
countertray, pasteboard box. $15.00. 
Beast Lord is a fantasy board game of a fairly 
conventional nature. A valley is more or 
less peacefully shared by three races (men, 
elves and goblins), but at its center is the lair 
of the Dragon. These ruins house the Great 
Sword of the almost mythic Beast Lord and 
are surrounded by the breeding grounds of 
the beasts who follow him. Strategically, the 
three races must each defend their own terri- 



tory from the oihers, and then deal with the 
return of the Beast Lord and his army of 
unlovable creatures. Players gain Victory 
Points for wreaking havoc on other players' 
forces; how these points are garnered is 
strictly up to the players' consciences (alli- 
ances are not binding). Generally, a player 
will not be aware of where the other players' 
main forces are; a single counter on the 
board can represent nothing or a huge stack 
— the corresponding force is placed on one 
of the counter displays behind a screen. Phy- 
sically, the game is quite sturdy, though 
some of the graphic choices are a bit peculiar 
(maize yellow for a map background?). The 
only truly defective component is the rules 
booklet, which leaves out crucial informa- 
tion. Beast Lord is really a four player game, 
and mediocre at that. 4 fSU 

Chivalry & Sorcery (FGUI) 

E. Simbalist & W. Backhaus 
One 728-page rule book. $10.00. 
Chivalry & Sorcery was the first second- 
generation role-playing game. It, unlike 
previous frp games, contains complete rules 
covering almost every aspect of a European 
medieval fantasy world: a realistic and com- 
plicated combat system; extensive social 
rules; large-army combat (i.e., miniatures 
rules); a plethora of different modes of using 
magic; monsters; and characters. C&S is a 
must for experienced frp'ers who have 
become sick of the insipid D&D system. It is 
not for novices, though; the 128 pages are 
filled with dense, compressed type, and the 
sheer quantity of information which must be 
read and digested before the game-system 
may be adopted will daunt the occasional frp 
gamer — although it will delight the hard- 
core gamesmaster. Another drawback is the 
fact that C&S is designed specifically for 
civilized medieval Europe, and requires a fair 
amount of work if it is to be adapted to other 
cultures; however, this drawback is miti- 
gated by the publication of C&S supple- 
ments dealing with barbarians {Swords & 
Sorcerers) and intelligent reptiles ISaurians). 
Also in the works is an Asian medieval sup- 
plement, designed by the indefatigable Lee 
Gold. Although the lack of world-design 
rules and poor organization are sorely felt, 
C&S remains the best full-scale complicated 
frp game published to date. 6IGC) 

Deathmaze (SPI) 

G. Costikyan 

200 playing pieces, 16-page rules, pasteboard box 

or resealable plastic bag. $5.95 boxed, $3.95soft- 

The idea of adventurers going into a large 
hole in the ground to combat monsters 
guarding treasure is a very silly one. The con- 
cept of the "dungeon," as treated in most 
fantasy role-playing games, is totally illogi- 
cal. But such is the popularity of Dungeons 
and Dragons that a "spin-off" game has 
been released. This is not to denigrate 
Deathmaze, which is a good enough small 
game, but to demonstrate that popularity 
lends credence to the most ludicrous of 
premises. Each player takes his character 
into the Deathmaze, a series of catacombs of 
ill repute. The shape of the Deathmaze is 
determined by the drawing of counters at 
random, and laying the sections adjacent to 
each other. All the standard elements of the 
fantasy role-playing dungeon are here; wan- 
dering monsters, monsters guarding trea- 



sure in remarkably cramped rooms, and neat 
little magic items. Still, if one ignores the pre- 
mise, Deathmaze will hold the attention of 
the purchaser as well as any of the recent 
6<EGI 



Demons (SPI) 

J. Dunnigan 

1l"by 17' map, 100 playing pieces, 8-pagerules, 
pasteboard box or resealable plastic bag. $5.95 
boxed, $3.95 softpack. 

Here is the perfect present for Walter Mitty: 
a game in which demons can be compelled 
to give Mr, Mitty power over everyone who 
wrongs him. The demons can intimidate or 
slay his enemies, procure vast quantities of 
treasure, or cause women to fall in love with 
him. Each player assumes the role of a magi- 
cian in medieval Armenia, seeking to employ 
demons to find treasure before the secular 
and spiritual authorities can catch up with 
him. Those authorities wish to torture the 
magical entrepreneurs, so the penalty for 
failure is high. The magicians are powerless 
by themselves, but as they master control of 
demons, they become able to ignore all op- 
position of mortal ken. The game may be 
played solitaire, and various systems are of 
interest, but Demons does not stand up to 
repeated playings. 5fEGI 

Divine Right (TSR) 

G. &K. Rahman 

24' by 34" map, 280 playing pieces, 4 sheets of 
identity and personality cards, 1 sheet of diplo- 
macy cards, 24-page rules. 2 dice, pasteboard 
box. $10.00. 

Divine Right is a fantasy boardgame a bit out 
of the usual mold. While there is some magic 
in it, it is essentially a game of military and po- 
litical strategy. Thirteen states are repre- 
sented on a mythical continent, and one of 
them is assigned to the two to six players at 
random. Each of the players is "on the 
board" in the form of a monarch piece, 
which, if killed or captured, knocks the player 
out of the game. Non-player monarchs are 
assigned personality cards which will govern 
their interactions with the players to some ex- 
tent. The essence of thegameistocreatealli- 
ances with these non-players, recruit addi- 
tional forces from the many available special 
mercenary units, and use these to eliminate 
other players from the game. Each player 
uses his ambassador piece in attempts to ce- 
ment pacts between his country and a neutral 
(there are no inter-player alliances). Combat 
is based on a single die-roll, which may be 
modified by odds. The game systems em- 
ployed make Divine Right well-suited for soli- 
taire (despite its multi-player nature) and 
postal play. Play is fast moving, as usually 
few units are in play and lengthy discussions 
between players are not as important as in 
other multi-player games. This description 
tells nothing of the artistry and humor that 
went into its making, or the many ramifica- 
tions and possible strategies available to a 
player. 7ISU 

Dungeons and Dragons (TSR) 

G. Gygax & D. Arneson 

Three rule books of c. 36pageseach, pasteboard 
box. Also: Advanced Dungeom and Dragons: 
Three hardbound rule books ofc. 150 pages each; 
Basic Dungeons and Dragons: 32- and 48-page 
rules, 5 polyhedral dice, pasteboard box. D&D: 
$12.00; Adv D&D: $39.00; Basic D&D: $10.00. 



The most important concept to be introduced 
to the wargaming hobby in the last ten years 
is that of role-playing. Unlike other war- 
games, role-playing games do not make 
clear-cut distinctions between winners and 
losers. To be sure, some players will do better 
than others, but since the game length is 
theoretically infinite, there is plenty of time to 
set matters aright. Dungeons and Dragons is 
an impressive achievement based on the con- 
cept alone, and also must be credited with 
cementing the marriage between the fantasy 
genre and gaming. The actual game, how- 
ever, qualifies for federal relief as a disaster 
area. If anyone can discern organization in 
the rules, he is eminently qualified to make a 
living as a cryptologist. The design shows a 
(hopefully unintentional) contempt for the 
English language and classical mythology. 
Matters become completely confused when 
combinations of typographical errors and 
game phraseology conspire to make phrases 
such as "% liar" (in actuality, this reference is 
supposed to give the percentage chance of a 
particular beast being in its abode when 
adventurers happen by, but seems to have 
more relevancy to a polygraph test) . Many of 
the people who play the game regularly have 
speni much time at redesigning the game to 
fit their particular needs, so that it is rare to 
find two groups playing the same version of 
the game. TS R has attempted to mend mat- 
ters by issuing a more complex version of the 
original, but the revision creates as many prob- 
lems as it solves. Though D&D is a mediocre 
game supported by a great idea, it will 
become the all-time wargame best seller in 
the not too distant future. 6IEG) 

King Arthur's Knights (TC) 

G. Stafford 

One 16-page rule book, four-color map, 320 cards, 
resealable plastic bag. $10.00. 
In King Arthur's Knights, each player is a 
knight of King Arthur's court, wandering 
around Arthurian Britain in quest of holy ob- 
jects and money and fair damsels in distress 
and tyrannical monsters to slay. As players 
move through provinces, they draw cards to 
determine obstacles encountered; such 
obstacles are of three types — knights, 
wizards and women. Knights may be slain or 
befriended; wizards may be slain or befriend- 
ed, and the results of such an encounter may 
grant a knight a magical boon, or curse him, 
or send him on a quest. A knight must be 
especially wary when encountering women, 
for at one extreme he may be driven to 
suicide at the perfidy of his love, and at the 
other he will find all of his advances rejected. 
In between, he may wed the damsel, in 
which case, he takes his wife and places her 
in the pile of cards containing his other 
possessions — magical swords, holy ob- 
jects, and the like. King Arthur's Knights is 
an enjoyable game for an evening's enter- 
tainment; it is not particularly sophisticated, 
and palls after a few playings, but, after all, 
so do most other games. 5IGC) 

Lankhmar (TSR) 

F. Leiber & H. Fischer 

22" by 28' map, 3 sheets of die-cut 

sheet of geas cards. 1 sheet of reward 

12-page rules, pasteboard box. $10.00. 

An accomplished author does not n 

ly made a good game designer, even when 

he is designing a game based on a world of 

his own creation. Fritz Leiber has kindly pro- 



vided the proof to this statement in this sim- 
ple, lifeless game. Players become a charac- 
ter from one of Mr. Leiber's Fafhrd and the 
Gray Mouser stories, and gallivant across an 
area map of the land of Lankhmar. The char- 
acter must fulfill geases (i.e., quests}, gain- 
ing much wealth for doing so. While a game 
cannot be expected to capture fully the 
mood of a story which it simulates, Lankh- 
mar manages to strip the Leiber stories of in- 
terest. Many wargame companies now 
understand how to simulate history properly, 
but few know how to recreate a story. The 
basic mistake committed in Lankhmar is the 
design approach: the stories depend on a 
great degree of uncertainty (or mystery), 
which is absent in the game. 3IEG) 

Lords & Wizards (FGUI) 

A. Gruen 

One 60-page rules book, 4 chart sheets, 800 die- 
cut counters, four-color map, resealable plastic 
bag. $12.00. 

Lords & Wizards is a multi-player fantasy 
game of world conquest, resembling nothing 
so much as a fantasy Blitzkrieg. Combat is 
in-hex with multiple combat rounds, and dif- 
ferentiation between missile and melee com- 
bat. Units are differentiated not only by 
ownership and type, but also by race — 
human, dwarven, orcish, and so forth. (This 
iast results in a graphics problem, as the 
units have neither race nor unit type printed 
on them; one must infer their nature from the 
illustration on the counter, which results in 
frequent reference to the counter summary 
in the game rules.) Magic is present, but is 
less important than in other similar games; 
strategic finesse is the major factor in deter- 
mining the outcome of the game. All in all. 
Lords & Wizards is a solid, competent design 
with no great innovation, and some graphics 
problems. 5IGCI 

Magic Realm (AH) 

R. Hamblen 

20 map "hexes," I sheet of magic cards, 16 char- 
acter cards, personal history pad, 36-page rules, 2 
dice, pasteboard box. $ 15. 00. 
The physical and game designs are rather un- 
conventional in this package. Players 
assume the role of a character, whose abili- 
ties are well-defined. The character will ven- 
ture forth into a fantasy land formed by the 
players' placement of the hex tiles which 
serve as a map. There are seven different 
levels of play, so one can learn the game at 
any pace one chooses. Many fresh new ideas 
which could be used to good effect are pre- 
sented here. Unfortunately, the game 
doesn't work. After negotiating the first 
adventure, which is no more than a footrace, 
the characters settle down for some serious 
hacking at one another. The personal com- 
bat system is simple — simple enough for 
any player to figure out whether he will win 
or lose before he engages in combat. This 
problem exposes, in turn, the inequities be- 
tween the various characters, which, of 
course, destroys any chance of enjoyable 
competitive play. As the rules become more 
sophisticated (and this is a complex game 
when all the rules are used), the murky rules 
require as much interpretation as a Supreme 
Court decision. There could have been a 
great game in Magic Realm, but it was 
aborted early in the life-cycle of the game. 
4IEGI 



(MC) 

S. Jackson 

8' by 14" map, 68 uncut playing pieces, 24-page 
rules, resealable plastic bag. A2.S5. 
This number may be played separately or as a 
combat resolution module for role-playing 
games. The rules include character genera- 
tion and selection of weapons. Experience, 
which is gained in mortal combat, can be 
cashed in for increased attributes (strength 
and dexterity). All in all, fairly standard stuff 
but executed in an integrated manner with 
very little "dirt." The actual combat proce- 
dure involves randomly assigning initiative to 
one character whose player then chooses 
the sequence in which he will "move-fight." 
As the initiative passes from player to player, 
each selects an "option" from a list provided 
and executes the movement portion of the 
option with his character. When all have 
moved, combat takes place. Performance is 
governed by randomly generated attributes, 
weapon and armor types. Clean, fast and 
deadly. Combats can be resolved between 
individual characters in 5 to 15 minutes. Sim- 
ple, butnotsimple-minded. 7IOP1 

Runequest (TC) 



One 



lebook. $12.00. 



Runequest was the third major fantasy role- 
playing game to appear, and has the most 
polished and comprehensible rules of the lot. 
The rules are organized in logical progres- 
sion, and numerous examples dot them, 
making them enjoyable to read and easy to 
learn. The game-system is simple compared 
to Chivalry & Sorcery, but on about the 
same level as D&D — and Runequest is a 
much superior game. In Runequest, there 
are no artificial character classes; instead, 
each character is free to learn whatever skills 
he is capable of picking up. Each character is 
assigned a number between 1 and 100 for 
each of the skills he learns. When he at- 
tempts to use a skill, he rolls percentile dice 
against this number to determine whether he 
succeeds. Thus, characters acquire a wide 
range of skills, leading to diversity of charac- 
ters and a more interesting game. Similarly, 
there are no artificial levels; i.e., characters 
do not suddenly jump in all abilitites through 
some sort of idiotic admission to higher 
circles of power. They progress as people ac- 
tually progress, concentrating on perfecting 
one skill at a time, or several skills 
simultaneously. In other frp games, all fifth- 
level fighters are identical to all other fifth- 
level fighters — they are killing machines 
with no other interest in life. In Runequest, 
to the contrary, characters are forced to 
develop personal philosophies through the 
need to join a religious cult, and develop dif- 
ferent powers and interests by the process of 
learning different skills and spells. Rune- 
quest is the most playable and elegant fan- 
tasy role-playing designed to date. Its only 
drawback is that it does not cover enough 
ground for a full-scale role-playing cam- 
paign, and is, perhaps, a bit simpler than ex- 
perienced frp'ers would desire. The first 
problem should be solved as Chaosium 
comes out with the sequels to Runequest 
[Heroquest and Godquest) and produces 
supplements such as the excellent Cults of 
Prax; the latter makes Runequest the ideal 
game for novice and occasional role-playing 
gamers. 7 /GO 



Sorcerer (SPf) 

R. Simonsen/T. Walczyk 
22'by34" map, 400 playing pieces, 16-page rules, 
six-sided die, pasteboard box and counter tray. 
$12.00. 

The world of Sorcerer is the intersection of 
seven planes of reality. Mere mortals have 
constructed villages in the plane in which 
magic has little or no effect; all other planes 
are magic-rich. The six magical planes are 
distinguished by the three primary and three 
secondary colors, which causes a viewer of 
the map to check his coffee for any trace hal- 
lucinogens. Several humans have harnessed 
the necessary forces to become magicians; 
they too are distinguished by the color of 
their magic (though some may control more 
than one color). As one might suspect, a 
player's key unit is his primary sorcerer. All 
action begins with the sorcerer, who may 
conjure units, teleport about the map, hurl 
• magic bolts, etc. The combat system is bas- 
ed on color interrelationships: if red is better 
than three colors, it will also be worse than 
the other three colors. Magical units may at- 
trite away (i.e., go back to their own plane), 
depending on the color of the hex they oc- 
cupy. The game system is nice, but it seems 
more appropriate for an abstract color war 
game than for a fantasy game. In the final 
analysis. Sorcerer fails as both a game and as 
fantasy. 5/EG) 

Swords and Sorcery (SPI) 

G. Costikyan 6 E. Goldberg 
22" by 34" map, 400 playing pieces, 56 cards, 2 
separate displays, two 8-page charts and tables 
booklets. 56-page rules, six-sided die, pasteboard 
box and counter tray. $18.00. 
S&S is an extremely detailed game of magi- 
cal combat and quest in a fantasy world of 
the designers' creation. Basically an incom- 
plete distillation of both the best and the 
worst of fantasy gaming ideas, S&S is not 
recommended for the person with a casual 
interest in fantasy gaming. Ground covered 
in the system includes: the use of manna (the 
stuff of magic for those not cognizant of 
Larry Niven), the effect of astral bodies on 
magical powers, individual and army com- 
bat, demoralization and rallying, vortices, 
conjuration, talismans, diplomacy, capture 
and escape of characters, spell-casting, 
wandering monsters, neutrals, invasions, 
emissaries, racial characteristics and species 
differentiation . . . you get the idea. The game 
is presented in a series of scenarios and 
adventures rather than a massive campaign 
game, which is just as well since the wealth 
of information presented is almost too much 
to handle in a lump. Quite complex. The 
average scenario takes about three hours to 
play. If you can get past the truly awful puns, 
it's worth more than a few replays. 6IDR) 

War of the Ring (SPI) 

H. Barasch & R. Berg/B. Hessel 
8 E. Goldberg 

22" by 34" and 11" by 34" map, 400 playing 
pieces, 1 12 cards, 28-page rules, six-sided die, 
pasteboard box and counter tray. $18.00. 
Middle Earth, the fantasy world of the late 
J.R.R. Tolkien, is reconstructed in this game 
covering the War of the Ring, S.R. 1418 to 
1419. The design breaks down into two sepa- 
rate games. The first, a somewhat feeble 
"Character Game" (obviously designed for 
the mass market) concentrates on the events 
of the quest of the Fellowship. It is enjoyable 

tctmtiim«tonpage39I 



Books 

Another Fine Myth. Robert Asprin 

Dell Fantasy, $1.95 

Thieves' World, ed. by Robert Asprin 

Ace Books, $1.95 

The Ruins of Isis, Marion Zimmer Bradley 

Pocket Books, $1.95 

Tales of N every on, Samuel R. Delany 

Bantam Books, $2.25 

Jesus on Mars, Philip Jose Farmer 

Pinnacle Books, $1 .95 

Electric Forest, Tanith Lee 

DAW Books, $1.75 

Empire of the East, Fred Saberhagen 

Ace Books, $6.95 

A World Between, Norman Spinrad 

Pocket Books, $2.25 

The Face, Jack Vance 

DAW Books, $1.95 

Science Fiction 

Generally speaking, science fiction — 
unlike mainstream fiction — has been able to 
avoid falling into the "relevant" trap. Sci- 
ence fiction writers have avoided obsession 
with the burning issues of the day, and thus 
have generally avoided many of the idiocies 
which quickly out-date "relevant" fiction. 
There have been stories written about the 
moral problems of Viet Nam and ecocatas- 
trophe, of course, but these Stories were 
generally neither sermons nor calls to action 
— they simply took the moral questions as 
starting points. In the last few years, how- 
ever, a huge number of stories — mostly by 
feminist writers — have been written about 
the problems of feminism. There is nothing 
wrong with this per se, of course, but the 
result is a disheartening cornucopia of- femin- 
ist cliches. If I read another story telling me 
how a society consisting entirely of females 
will inevitably result in a Utopia where war is 
totally unknown, I will suffer severe stomach 

As it happens, the problem of sex roles 
in a technological society is not entirely ex- 
hausted, as two recent novels by excellent 
writers show. Marion Zimmer Bradley's The 
Ruins of Isis deals with the adventures of a 
sociologist and her husband on a female- 
dominated planet. The pair comes from a 
society in which sexual attitudes approxi- 
mate our own, and they are forced to adopt 
to the cultural forms of the female planet — 
an awkward situation, when the head of the 
scientific team is treated like an unintelligent 
animal. Bradley, thankfully, refuses to 
preach, and the novel, instead of becoming 
shrill feminist propaganda, becomes a fast- 
paced adventure novel which explores the 
nature of sexual relationships. 

Ruins of Isis is by no means Bradley's 
best work; and her characters seem less well- 
realized than those of previous novels. On 
balance, however, the book is worth its 
$1.95 cover price. 

The other novel is Norman Spinrad's A 
World Between, which takes place on a 



planet called Pacifica. Pacifica's governmen- 
tal system is a media democracy, in which 
elections are held on a world-wide computer 
net, and every citizen, as a constitutional 
right, has access to innumerable media 
channels continually carrying a vast variety 
of shows. Sexually, the planet is pretty much 
devoted to equality. In the course of the 
novel, two ships arrive at Pacifica — one 
from the Transcendental Scientists and the 
other from the Terran Femocracy. The first is 
a union of scientists who have developed a 
technology far beyond that of Pacifica and 
are using their technological superiority to 
establish cultural domination over as many 
human worlds as possible, by making accep- 
tance of Transcendental Science tutelage a 
prerequisite for access to their technology. 

The Femocracy is a female-dominated 
society which embodies all the worst and 
most extreme facets of feminism. Their ob- 
jective is to mobilize the females of Pacifica 
to seize power, oppress their males, and join 
the Femocracy. Naturally, the Transcenden- 
tal Scientists retaliate by trying to mobilize 
male opinion, and the result is a devastat- 
ingly divisive propaganda war fought 
through Pacifica's ubiquitous media net- 
work. 

The story deals with the efforts of 
Carlotta Madigan, Pacifica's Chairman, and 
Royce Lindblad, the Minister of Media and 
Carlotta's lover, to fight both sides of the 
"Pink and Blue War" and maintain Pacifica's 
independence and cultural integrity. In Spin- 
rad's firm hands, the result is a gripping story 
from start to finish. His portrayal of Pacifican 
society is so convincing that the reader takes 
for granted its differences from our own, and 
his depiction of all three sides' propaganda is 
at once moving and convincing — yes, this is 
what their propaganda would belike. If Spin- 
rad sometimes succumbs to the urge to 
preach, what he preaches is democracy, sex- 
ual equality, and human understanding; 
surely, ws-san forgive him for this. 

Tanith Lee's Electric Forest is more than 
an excellent novel — it is, in my opinion, one 
of the best works science fiction has so far 
produced, something I will reread for the rest 
of my life, and something which, if there is 
any justice in the world, will garner several of 
this year's sf awards. The story is gripping, 
the writing is excellent, the plot twists are 
dazzling — but even more, Electric Forest 
turns the reader inside-out, emotionally. 
Much science fiction is cold, cardboard, and 
deals only with events and not at all with 
emotion. Electric Forest, without sacrificing 
the solid story of hardcore science fiction, 
has none of these flaws. In short, it is a per- 
fect and seamless union of a well-plotted 
adventure story and the mainstream fiction 
which deals primarily with human emotion. 

I can't tell you much about the story 
itself, because I don't want to ruin it by reveal- 
ing any of the plot. However, it deals with a 
deformed woman who is given a new body as 
part of a government espionage effort. 

Philip Jose Farmer's latest novel, Jesus 
on Mars, is a disappointment. Only Farmer 
could get away with a topic as weird as this: 
mankind"s first manned mission to the Red 
Planet lands in the Vallis Marineris and finds 
a door that leads to an underground complex 
in which Hassidic Jews — and their Messiah, 



Jesus Christ — live a happy existence. The 
premise is fascinating, but Jesus on Mars 
seems to have been written with no other 
purpose in mind. In the beginning of the 
story, the expedition discovers the Hassidim 
and meets Jesus; in the middle of the story, 
the characters struggle to integrate the reali- 
ty of Christ's existence with their world- 
views; and at the end of the story, Jesus 
goes to Earth and initiates the millenium. In 
other words, the title is a fair summary of the 
story, and the novel has little else to say — 
and 256 pages is a bit long for an extended 
gag. Again, Jesus on Mars would be brilliant 
if it were written by a novice; but from 
Farmer, one expects better things. 

Another long-standing writer from 
whom we expect good things is Jack Vance. 
Although Vance is pretty well known, he 
hasn't attained the status of one of sf's best 
as of yet (for reasons that escape me}; like so 
many other good writers, most of his fiction 
has been recently republished in paperback 
form, so it's readily available. 

Back in the thirties and forties, there 
was a theory among mainstream critics and 
writers that the Fiction of the Modern Age 
should deal not with individuals — for indivi- 
duals were outmoded — but societies. Obvi- 
ously, this idea was engendered by the sort 
of simplistic Marxism which was then 
prevalent in intellectual circles. Devotees of 
this theory took Dos Passos as their best ex- 
ample. Vance's fiction likewise deals with 
societies more than people. Each of his 
novels deals with one or more societies, 
which are all exotic and incredibly different 
from our own. Vance's societies are ex- 
tremely detailed and entirely believable — 
and, usually, quite bizarre. But simply de- 
scribing a society is not enough, of course, 
to hold the reader's interest; Vance does this 
by using his well-realized societies as the 
background for a violent, fast-paced and ex- 
citing adventure story. 

The Face is the fourth novel in Vance's 
"Demon Princes" series. The Demon 
Princes are a group of five interstellar crimi- 
nals of bizarre character. The series deals 
with the efforts of KirthGerson, whose fami- 
ly and entire city was enslaved by the Demon 
Princes in one of their few cooperative ef- 
forts, to hunt down and destroy these 
criminals. Presumably, the series will incor- 
porate five novels, since there are five 
Demon Princes; The Face deals with 
Gersen's assassination of Lens Larque. 

Lens Larque is a Darsh, from the planet 
Dar Sai, and the bulk of the novel concerns 
Gersen's efforts to flush Larque out into the 
open on that planet. The men of Dar Sai are 
nearly hairless, and their women mustached; 
the males chase adolescent females, known 
as kitchets, while the females chase young 
boys. Darsh mate by journeying out on the 
desert at night and attempting to waylay 
members of the opposite sex of the appropri- 
ate age, while attempting to avoid being 
waylayed by members of the opposite sex 
who they consider ugly or too old. Thus, the 
most usual sexual encounter is rape, which is 
not a crime but a way of life. 

This describes only the sexual habits of 
the Darsh, however; their other customs are 
equally bizarre. The novel deals not only with 
the Darsh, but also with the planets of 



Methlen and Aloysius, which Gerson also 

visits. 

All in all, The Face is an intriguing and 
well-plotted adventure in Vance's usual 
strange style. It is also considerably more ex- 
pert and cleanly written than most of 
Vance's other work; apparently, Vance is still 
refining his style and sharpening his abilities. 
The Face is well worth reading, especially if 
you can get hold of the previous three novels 
in the "Demon Princes" series. 



Fantasy 



In the last couple of years, publication 
of fantasy has experienced a renaissance. It 
is my belief that the success of role-playing 
games is at least partially responsible for this 
upsurge; anyone who gets into role-playing 
to any great degree will probably become 
sufficiently intrigued by fantasy to pick up a 
few fantasy books. According to rumor. 
Dungeons & Dragons is now selling as rapid- 
ly as the typical Parker Brothers game, which 
means a hell of a lot of people are getting ex- 
posed to it. 

Whether that's the case or whether 
there has simply been a rise in interest in fan- 
tasy, it seems that a number of well known 
science fiction writers are trying their hand at 
writing fantasy. This is by no means a trend, 
of course, as most of the fantasy writers of 
the forties and fifties were also science fic- 
tion writers. However, Fred Saberhagen, for 
instance, is hardly the sort of person I would 
expect to see writing fantasy, since he is well 
known as a hard-core technology-oriented sf 
writer. Nonetheless, in Empire of the East, 
he has produced an extremely interesting 
fantasy work. 

Empire of the East takes place on an 
Earth in the future when, as the result of a 
scientific experiment, magic has become 
possible. It deals with the efforts of the 
Western Kingdoms to overthrow the domin- 
ion of the evil Empire of the East, which has 
almost conquered the world. In so doing, 
they use, among other things, an ancient 
tank and hot-air balloons; the resulting mix- 
ture of technology and magic is quite in- 
teresting. Empire of the East is actually three 
separate novels - The Broken Lands, The 
Black Mountains, and Ardneh's World — all 
of which can be read separately but are tied 
together. The first deals with the freeing of a 
single Western Kingdom; the second with 
the overthrow of the Eastern Satrap of the 
West; and the third with the final destruction 
of evil. Together, they pretty much follow 
the standard sequence of events for an apoc- 
alyptic fantasy epic, a la Lord of the Rings. 

Empire of the East is extremely cleanly 
written, moves along rapidly, and is fun. 

Another science fiction writer moving 
over into fantasy is Samuel Delany, author of 
Nova and that monumental piece of glug, 
Dhalgren. In Tales of Never/on he shows not 
only that he has not completely succumbed 
to the modern penchant for meaningless pre- 
tention, but that he is still capable of writing 
a dynamite story. Tales of Neveryon claims 
to be the novelization of an ancient legen- 
dary epic called the Culhar' Text which is 
even older than the Gilgamesh legend. At the 
end of the book, Delany includes a preten- 
tiously witty scholarly article called "Some 



Informal Remarks Toward the Modular Cal- 
culus, Part Three" which deals with this sup- 
positious legend. 

This appendix shouldn't scare potential 
readers off; Neveryon is written in a straight- 
forward style, not some mock-epic style. 
The book contains five inter-locking stories 
dealing with several characters in a bronze- 
age prehistory, and in the process deals with 
the nature of power, servitude, and money. 
The imagery is extremely well-defined and 
the philosophical aspects integrate nicely in- 
to the story without affecting the rhythm of 
the novel; all in all, Neveryon is brilliant. My 
only carp is Del any' s attitude toward money, 
which is that of the typical modern socio- 
liberal — and this is not a valid kvetch, of 
course, since the book's politics have 
nothing to do with its value. Buy it. 

Robert Asprin is not exactly a new 
writer, but he hasn't been around for that 
long, either. His Another Fine Myth (that'sa 
pun) is a fast-moving fantasy story in the tra- 
dition of De Camp — an unsuspecting hero 
roving through a series of impossibly strange 
events. Skeeve is the apprentice of a not- 
terribly-competent wizard in the land of 
Klahd, when his master is killed by the min- 
ions of an evil wizard while in the process of 
summoning a demon. The demon is actually 
an old friend of Skeeve's master, and 
decides that it is necessary to destroy the evil 
wizard. Unfortunately, Skeeve's master took 
the demon's powers away before dying, so 
the pair must rely on Skeeve's rather skimpy 
magical expertise — and the story is off to a 
running start. Another Fine Myth is extreme- 
ly funny and thoroughly enjoyable. 

Another book from Robert Asprin is 
Thieves' World, which he edited. The idea 
for Thieves' World is: a fantasy world, con- 
taining many heroic characters, is created in 
which any number of writers are welcome to 
set their stories, as long as they conform to 
the pre-established world-background. The 
result is a series of multi-hero fantasy stories; 
since fantasy role-playing involves the group 
production of a multi-hero fantasy story, 
role-playing fans especially will find Thieves' 
World enjoyable. 

The stories are set in the city of Sanc- 
tuary, a dying trading city on the southern tip 
of a peninsula. The city has recently received 
a new governor appointed by the empire that 
owns it, and this governor is vigorous in his 
attempts at reform. The resulting conflict 
forms the backdrop for many of the stories. 
Sanctuary has become a den of thieves, 
primarily because there is little other in- 
dustry; life is cheap, fighting is endemic, etc. 

The idea for the collection has apparent- 
ly caught the imagination of a number of ex- 
cellent writers, for it contains stories by 
writers such as John Brunner, Poul Ander- 
son, and Marion Zimmer Bradley — as well 
as relative unknowns such as Christine 
DeWees and Lynn Abbey. The stories them- 
selves range from mediocre to excellent, but 
all are worth reading. 

Thieves' World, according to the 
Editor's notes, is only the first volume of a 
series of story collections based around the 
city of Sanctuary; further collections con- 
taining stories by writers of the same caliber 
will be forthcoming. 

Greg Costikyan 



Mediq 



The phenomenal success of Star Wars 
and Close Encounters of the Third Kind has 
finally opened the eyes of the movie industry 
to science fiction. Currently in the works are 
a number of major projects plus some inter- 
esting minor ones — mainly in science fiction 
but also in fanlasy. 

Coming soon and greatly anticipated, is 
the next Star Wars film entitled The Empire 
Strikes Back. Its official release date in this 
country is May 21, 1980. Close Encounters is 
getting some new blood or, at least, a slight 
revision. A re-release is planned for August, 
less five minutes of original footage but with 
an additional seven minutes of new footage. 

The world famous producer, Dino 
DeLaurentiis {King Kong, Orca, etc.) has im- 
mersed himself in science fiction and fantasy 
projects of grand magnitude. The properties 
in work are Flash Gordon, Dune and Conan. 
Flash Gordon, which is the closest of the 
three to completion, is expected to have a 
release date of December, 1980. The movie 
will be based on Alex Raymond's comic strip 
and will feature a newcomer in the title role. 
Max von Sydow is Flash's adversary, Ming 
the Merciless. Michael Hodges will direct. 

Frank Herbert's Dune is just getting 
underway and features Ridley Scott [Alien) 
as director. Herbert will help with the screen- 
play, and the film is promised a §20 to S40 
million budget. Most likely, a 1982 release 
would be in order. Again, as is typical with 
DeLaurentiis, a newcomer will be selected to 
play Paul Atreides. 

R.E. Howard's Conan is moving toward 
the casting phase, with Arnold Schwarze- 
negger billed as the super- barbarian. Oliver 
Stone is handling the script which will offer 
an original Conan story. John Milius will 
direct. 

Bakshi is moving slowly on Lord of the 
Rings: Part II, and Easier of 1981 will pro- 
bably be the release date. In the wings we 
have the makings of a Heavy Metal movie 
which is being called "a feature-length 
animated anthology."Some of the six stories 
to be adapted in the film include Moebius' 
Arzbach and Corben's Tales of the Arabian 
Nights. Harry Harrison will do the script. 

A potentially interesting picture, despite 
possible miscasting, is Saturn 3 scheduled 
for spring, 1980. Kirk Douglas and Farrah 
Fawcett are hard at work in an underground 
hydroponics station on Titan, Saturn's 
largest moon. Harvey Keitel cum robot drops 
in to pay them an unusual visit. 

In the world of the absurd we have an 
Italian made Star Wars to be known as Two 
in the Stars, starring Fred Williamson, Bo 
Svenson and Arthur Kennedy. Also on tap is 
a musical version of H.G. Well's War of the 
Worlds. (That's right!) It's a spinoff of the 3 
million LP seller from Columbia Records — 
and you're going to tell me that you never 
knew that there was a record. 

Howard Barasch 



A 





sir science iriictii® 
mniagaiiri®. 



„ _mr| weUiaqa nope iroir 

tlhic soccess @f this ©rjcfeai/oir. 

Way /sfiES d© for science fcioiri Wlfplc 
STftATKiY&mCTIICS did fron 

| COMING SOON-THE COMPLEAT STRATEGIST IN FLORIDA 1 

Please direct all enquiries to our New York 

£0 



1 1 East 33rd Street 
New York, NX 10016 

Tel: (212) 685-3880 - 1 
Open Thurs til 9 pm 

10:30 - 6:00 Mon. - Sat. 



THE 

DMPL&4T 
iTMTEGKT 




WAR GAME HEADQUARTERS 

-- ^"-^'"iMmiini ■— 'mii»i«»i»wiy - I'tf! 



209 Glenridge Ave. 
Montclair, N.J. 07042 
Tel: (201) 744-6622 
Open Thurs. til 9 pm 
1:00 - 7:00 Tues. — Sat. 



FeedbocK 

Reader Survey. Ares nr. 1 



"0" always means NO OPINION or NOT APPLICABLE. 
When the Question is a "yes or no" question. "1" means 
VES and "2" means NO. When the question is a rating 
question. "1" is the WORST rating. "9" 1S the BEST ra- 
ting, "5" is an AVERAGE rating, and ail numbers in be- 

1-3. No question 

The following questions ask you to rate the articles in this 

issue on a scale of 1 Ipoorl through S (excellent); O ^ no 



9. A Galaxy of Gan 



15. Thisissueoverall 

16. Assume that you don't subscribe to Ares. Would t 



3=18-21:4 = 22-27:5 = 



21. What is the average number of hours you spend clay- 
ing simulation games each month? = none; 1 = 1 hour or 
less; 2-2-5 hours; 3 = 6-9 hours; 4 = 10-15 hours; 
5=16-20 hours; 6 = 21-25; 7 = 26-30; 8 = 31-40; 9 = 40 W 

22. How many simulanon games (of all publishers) do 
you possess' 1 = 1-10; 2 = 11-20, 3 = 21-30; 4 = 31-40; 
5 - 41-50; 6 = 51 -60; 7 = 61-70; 8 = 71 80; 9 = 81 or more 



i the following games 
lattleFleet Mars; 9 = 



ten to fifteen. 5 = sixteen to 25; 6 - 26 to 30; 7 = 31 to 
40:8 = 41 to 50. 9- 51 or more. 

26. What percentage of the games you buy do you ex- 
pect will be SPI games? 1 = 10%; 2 ■ 20%. 3 = 30%; 

.9-90%. 
17. How much money do you plan to spend on conflict 

than $10; 2 = S10-2S; 3 = 525-50; 4 = $50-75; 5 = 
$75-100. 6 = $100-200. 7 = $200-300; 8 = $300-400. 9 - 



games in the last twelve months? 1 = less than $10; 2 = 


46. 


The Dragon 




$10-25; 3 ■ $25-50; 4 = $50-75; 5 = $75-100. 6 = $100 








-200; 7 - $200-300:8 - $300^00:9 - $400 or more. 








29. Pick the one area of science fiction that you most en- 


4*. 


Analog 




joy reading; 1 = Space opera/science fantasy; 2 = 


49. 


Omni 




"Hard" science fiction adyenture; 3 = Problem- solving 


50. 


Fantasy & Science Fiction 




haid science fiction; 4 = Extraterrestrial societies; 5 = 








Future societies lutopia/dystopial, 6 = Alternate history; 


51. 


Galaxy 




7 - Time-travel; 8 - Soft science fiction la.k.a. "new 




Isaac AsimovSF Magazine 




wave"!; 9 ■ Other (please write in the category descrip- 


53. 


Galileo 




















see science fiction games done: 1 = Strategic space con- 
flict; 2 ■ Tactical space conflict Iship against shipl; 3 = 


Please rate the following games on a J to 9 scale. 


with-r 


Tactical planetbound conflict (man agamsl martl; 5 = 






and ■■$" 










games which you have played lagainst an opp 




setting; 7 ■ Role-playing adyenture; 8 = Economic/ 








sociologica'/poliiical conflict; 9 = Othe r ipf.iasij write n 




played Ihe game in the last sit months, plea: 


,-e do not 


the category description!. 




r it /respond "0"in ihe space!. All games listed are SPI 




published :.■■'- -.-.-.■>..■ c-pn-i-r.' 












eluding thegame in this issue)? 1 = 1;2 - 2:3 » 3;4 - 








4; 5 = 5 to 10; 6 = 11 to 15; 7 = 16 to 20; 8 - 21 to 25. 9 


56. 


John Carter of Mars 




- 26 or more. 


57. 


Creature that Ale Sheboygan 






58. 


Vector 3 




the last twelve months? 1 = under $10; 2 = under $20; 3 








= under $30, 4 = under $40. 5 = under $50. 6 = under 


59. 


Titan Strike 




$60; 7 = under $70; 8 = under $80; 9 = $81 or more. 


60. 


Stargate 




33. What percentage of the money spent on science fic- 


(1. 


Sword 6 Sorcery 




tion books was spent on hard-cover books? 1 = 10%; 2 
- 20%. 3 - 30%; 4- 40%; 9 - 90%. 


62. 


Demons 




34. Pick the one area ol fantasy that you most enjoy 


63. 


Dungeons B Dragons ITSRI 




reading; 1 = Sword and Sorcery. 2 = Mythological fan- 


64. 








«5. 


OgrelMGWl 












porary setting; 5 - Superhero/heroic adventure; 7 = 


66. 


The China War 






07. 


Dune 1 AH) 




Horror/occult; 9 = Other (please write in the category 
description) 

see fantasy games done: 1 - Strategicswordandsorcery 


6S. 


Magic Realm (AH) 




69. 


Cosmic Encounters (EPI 




70. 


Melee IMGWI 




boa rdgamesl army against army). 2 = Tactical sword ana 


71. 


Freedom m the Galaxy 




sorcery boardgames (hero against evildoer); 3 = 
Quest /adventure boardgames; 4 = Sword and sorcery 


72. 


StarfalMYao) 




role-playing; 5 = Quest /adventure role-playing; 6 = 


73. 


The Beast lordfYaql 




Classically based fantasy; 7 = Anthropomorphic 


74. 


Traveller (GDWI 




societies; 8 ■ Horror/occull; 9 = Other Iplease write in 


75. 


Commando 




36. How much money did you spend on fantasy books m 


76. 


Divine RightlTSRI 




the last twelve months? 1 = underS10;2 = under S20; 3 


Hate the following game proposals on a scale • 


if 1 to 9, 


= under $30; 4 = under $40; 5 = under $50, 6 - under 






$60; 7 = under $70. 8 = under $80; 9 = $81ormore. 




ilished up through 9 indicating a definite int 




37. What percentage of the money spent on fantasy 


pin 


chase it 




books was spent on hard-cover books? 1 - 10%; 2 = 




21st Century; Our Next Hundred Years. 


Compare 


20%; 3 = 30%;4 = 40%;...;9 = 90% 


1980 to 1880; every aspect of social existence hi 




38. How many fantasy games do you own? - none: 1 
= 1;2 = 2, 3 = 3; 4 = 4; 5 = 5 to 10; 6 = 11 to 15; 7 = 


ed. 






and the nations of the world be like 100 years fi 


cm now? 


16 to 20; 8 = 21 to 25; 9 = 26 or more. 
















39. How did you first learn of Ares? 1 = A friend told me 


fir; 


incial disaster, or will alternate energy source: 


i come ',;■ 






-r.-sryfi? How/. IM! V ;:d(;:,v-:1 .:-: VM 




= I saw an ad in a wargammg magazine; 4 = I saw an ad 


Pact entanglement send? These questions and o 








explored in 21st Century, a player-orientr-ri hi 


it heavily 














l" from today to the end of the next CWIturv 






eight players will control Ihe current major 


noiiticiii. 






nomic or religious powers, although rare 


ly will a 



The following questions concern other magazines. Pick 
one statement that is most true about each magazine. 
I = I have never seen a copy; 2 = I almost never buy a 
copy; 3 - I occasionally buy a copy, but I do not have a 
subscription; 4 = / did have a subscription to this 

5 - / did have a subscription to the magazine in the past, 
but I only buy It on the newsstand now; S = lhaveasub- 
scription to the magazine for one year or less; 7 = I have 
subscribed to this magazine for two years or less; 8 = 1 
have subscribed to this magazine for 3 to 5 years; 9 = I 
have subscribed to this magazine tor over 5 years. 

40. StrategyandTactics 

41. MOVES 

42. The General 



drjolOf; I- a SVV1..M- Si ■ 



s duration. Extensive 



78. Planet Drop! The XquiCho6 struck swiftly; swarming 
out of an unexplored quarter of the galaxy, they brought 



the Gal; 



c Confe, 

. and the pi 



enslaved. Now they are determined lo win hack the lost 
worlds; one by one they will liberate the planets. Planet 
Dropl is a simulation of a o'anetary marine lending rn the 
26th Century. Using a geomurphic map and 200 double- 
sided couniers. Planet Dropl will recreate several such 
planetary assaults by human and allied alien forces 



Planet Drop! v 

19. The Corporate Wars: 2031. The 

There are no more unions. Only the 



Based on SPI's Star Soldier, 
2031. There 




strategy Tosell for $12. 

SI. War of the Western Reach. The Terran Confedera- 
tion and the Centauran Alliance have t}p,er\ colonizing the 
archipelago world of Poseidon for over a century. The 
peculiar nature of the planet and the lack of high- 
technology resources prevented the inhabitants from 
thinking about anything but survival; now. both colonies 

between Confederation and Alliance, and Poseidon 






Vlorc* 



o Confederation-A 






tion of surface warfare in the distant future. V 
(hopefullyl a background story S17 to S20. 
81. The Field at Dannvline. The Masters of Sc 



■:-.-, ir. 



-lariy -i 



Callan, but Callan is 



83. Barbarian Kings Thesavageandsorcerr. 
led by one of the great Hero-Kings, who seei 



it Dannyline. 



id Hero Points, the 



mies, and wizards must be emp 


oyed to cast spells and 


conduct research. The player w 






become the Overlord 


One capsule-size map, 200 coun 




rules SB 




84. Citadel of Blood. A fantasy 


ole- playing game using 




set in the Valley of the 


Great Sword, first popularized 




Sorcery. From one to five play 




Blood in search of The Hellga 


e, the hidden talisman 


which was the foundation of the 


power of the Deathlord 


of Arahelm. The game would inc 


ude the entire gamut of 



Magic Capsules: Using the same format as the just -re- 
leased Space Capsule games, we are planning a series of 
fantasy and mythical games that would feature 
quick- playing, highly developed, novel systems that have 
carefully balanced for competitive play. The 



Jt50cc 



rxlT-n 






ie Sorcerer world, Fanet 



89. Asgartf. Odin. Thor and the other Norse gods defend 
Special rainbow bridge rules. 

90. Against Magic. It is the dawn of the Age of Man. The 
strength of the Elder Races is ebbing fast, before the 

with many human states warring against each other as 



itself Against Magic w 



vin Kaye and Parke Godwin. Set in a 






91. How many sc 














you regularly buy 






n?1 - 1;2 = 


telepathically adept, tribes against the 


echnologic 


' l V 


2;3 = 3;4 = 4...; 








sophisticated City. The City has isolated 
tribes by meansof the Self-Gate, which de 
of any who dare to cross it. To further 


SB 


-H! 


91. How many sci 
Digest, etc.) do vo 


;« 


i;i(j:i/ni»i 


Omni. Science 


tribesmen, the people of the City ha 














mercenaries to systematically kill member 


of those tr 


MS 


93-96. Noquestio 


s- 






which might seek entrance to the City 


Garick of 


the 


On the Feedback c 


3rd, please 


nclude vol 


rthree favorite 



lamtimrd/rom pagr 341 

only for those who like die-rolling exercises. 
The second or "Army Game" is much 
greater in scope, taking into account the 
military struggle between Sauron and the 
Free Peoples. The Army Game captures 
much of the richness of the mythos which 
was absent in the Character Game. The use 
of cards, pioneered in this system, allows for 
the inclusion of more data than could be 
placed on unit counters. Other cards may be 
played to represent random events, magical 
items of use to the characters, and the 
search capacity of Sauron's minions. Two 
major problems mar this otherwise excellent 
game: the atrocious rules and the player's 
hindsight (the climax of the novel is 
predicated on Sauron not being aware of the 
Fellowship's intentions). The first is 
somewhat mitigated by the thorough atten- 
tion to detail (a reader of the novel will be 
able to piece together many solutions), and 
the second is reduced by the uncertainty of 
the card play. Games of War of the Ring 
range from predictable to cliff-hanging, gut- 
wrenching suspense. Fairly complex, and re- 
quires several hours to play. Not for those 
who have not read the Ring Trilogy. 7IDRI 



White Bear & Red Moon (TO 

G. Stafford 

22"x25'A " map. 252 playing pieces, 80-page 
rules, resealable plastic bag. $10.00. 
When Greg Stafford first published White 
Bear 8 Red Moon, he knew very little about 
gaming; he was, however, obsessed with 
Glorantha, a fantasy world of his creation, 
and felt the need to describe the conflicts 
and wars of its long history. His inexperience 
with gaming resulted in poor rules and 
awkward systems; regardless, White Bear & 
Red Moon is one of the few games which 
can safely be described as a work of art. 
Despite its relative obscurity, it has spawned 
a whole host of imitators — the rabble may 
not recognize its worth, but the community 
of designers does. White Bear & Red Moon 
is less a game than a description of an entire 
culture. In a short rulesbook, it provides an 
insight into the religions, governments, and 
ideologies of whole peoples; descriptions of 
weird and imaginative alien races; the ra- 
tionales for several competing kinds of 
magic; and the biographies of the greatest 
heroes of the age. Further, despite its occa- 
sional awkwardnesses. White Bear 6 Red 
Moon is an enjoyable and fast-playing game. 
8IGCI 

Other science fiction and fantasy games 
not reviewed are listed below. BH stands for 
Battleline/Heritage; DC stands for the Dave 
Casciano Company, FB for Flying Buffalo; 
andTYR for Tyr Gamemakers. 

Alpha Omega (BHI; Arms Race IDC); Battle of Five Ar- 
mies ITSfi); Bushido (TYRI; Cerberus (TFGI; Dragon 
Lords IFGUII; Elric (TCI; Empire of the Petal Throne 
(TSUI; Gamma World (TSR); Gondor ISPI); Hot Spot 
(MCI: The Iliad IGDWI; IT (DCI; King Arthur ISPI); Lords 
and Wizards IFGUII: Nomad Gods (TCI; Objective; 
Moscow (SPI); Rift Trooper IDC); Sauron (SPII; Space 
Quest (TYRI; Spellmaker (BH); StarFall lYaql; Star 
Fighter (BHI; Starfire (TFGI; StarFleet Battles (TFG); 
StarGate ISPI); Starships and Spacemen IFGUI); Star- 
Soldier ISPI); Stomp! ITCI; Strange New Worlds (BH); 
Titan Strike (SPII; Triplanetary (GDW); Tunnels and 
Trolls (FBI; Vector 3 (SPI); War of the Star Slavers (DC); 
War of Wizards (TSRI; Warp War IMC); Warriors of the 
Dark Star (DC); Wizard (MCI; Wizard's Quest IAHI; The 
YthrilMCI. 



Subscribe to 

three great gaming magazines! 

Strategy &Tactics 

Other magazines and books can only speculate about the many paths that history 
could have taken: Strategy & Tactics allows you to redirect the forces of change at 
the historical turning points, to discover historical alternatives for yourself. Each 
issue of Strategy & Tactics includes a complete simulation game, plus a feature 
length article on the same topic. Other articles and features in each issue keep 
subscribers informed with up to the minute game design progress and game 
release dates. 

Rates: / year (6 issues): $16.00. 2 years (12 issues): $30.00. 
Single Issue: $5.00. 




The Magazine 
of Conflict 
Simulation 




Ass 



The Magazine 
of SF and Fantasy 
Simulation 



Both simulation gaming and the science fiction/fantasy milieu deal with varieties 
of the possible, and Ares is the natural product of this synergy. Each issue 
contains a complete capsule-sized science fiction or fantasy simulation, two or 
more science fiction or fantasy short stories by recognized writers in the genre, 
articles on science fiction and fantasy game design and play, and reviews and 
service features dealing with all forms of science fiction, fact, and fantasy. 
Rates: 1 year (6 issues): $14.00. 2 years (12 issues): $26.00. 
Single Issue: $3.00. 




/1/D€S 



Conflict Simulation 
Theory and Technique 



The natural companion to Strategy <£ Tactics and Ares, MOVES is especially 
created for the serious gamer. It provides the commentary, criticism, advice, and 
news necessary for him to get the most out of his games. A wide variety of articles, 
generated by the readership and SPT staff, deal with the "nuts and bolts" of 
game-playing and designing. The articles concentrate on the gaming aspects of the 
newest and best simulation games of all publishers. 
Rates: 1 year (6 issues): $9.60. 2 years (12 issues): $18.00. 
Single Issue: $2.50. 



Magazines also available in stores nationwide! 



-h- 



WorldKiller Counter Section Nr. 1 (100 pieces): Front. 

Quantify of Sections of this identical type: 1. Total quality of Section (all types) in game: 1. 



I 



701 ; 702 703 704 705 706 ! 707 708 709 801 

•— •— •— •— •— •— I •— •— •— •"♦- 

; 336-3 336-3 1 336-3 336-3 336-3 336-3 j 336-3 336-3 336-3 444-2 



r 



802 



803 



804 



805 



901 



902 



903 



904 



905 



906 



3 j 444-2 j 444-2 ; 444-2 ; 444-2 [403-2 403-2 j 403-2 j 403-2 403-2 403-2 

so 

e 
o 



W 601 

244-2 



K2 

244-2 



Shield 
"A" 
-5- 



Shield 


Shield 








"B" 


"C" 


1 


1 


1 


-5- 


-5- 








1 


1 


1 


1 


1 



DAMAGE MARKERS 



1 1 



| 3 33 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 
55555557I77 



11 



11 



11 



11 



t 



401 402 403 

414-2 414-2 414-2 



404 405 406 

414-2 414-2 414-2 



PLANETARY FORCES 



■ 201 202 203 204 

; m m m m 

I214-2 214-2 214-2 214 2 



205 

m 



206 

m 



207 

m 



301 



302 



303 



214-2 214-2 j 214-2 226-3 226-3 226-3 






I 002 



003 



004 



-H- 



501 102 103 104 

H H j -* -« ! ^ ! ■+ 

426-2 426-2 1 1 3-6 1l3-6 113-6 1136 536-0 536-0 536-0 536-0 



-f 



/. Y inolO 

298P41 



-h 



501 
201 



502 
202 



203 

m 



102 103 



204 



205 

m 



104 



206 




207 

m 



301 























8 


8 


10 


10 


10 


12 


404 

12 *• 


405 


406 


8 


8 


10 


10 


10 


12 


401 

12 «• 


402 


403 



6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


8 


8 


8 
















I 4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


j 4 ! 























602 




















•*• 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 






















601 


















i 


♦*♦ 








2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 



802 


803 


304 


805 


901 


902 


903 


904 


905 


906 


^ 


••" 


••" 


•^ 


■■mH 










-"^'^■*^?at^ 


701 


702 


703 


704 


70S 


706 


707 


708 


709 


801 


I" 


•" 


•" 


^ 


•" 


•" 


•" 


•"" 


•" 


4 



•jpeg :(sa3aid QOl) X ,J N uoipas lajunoo ja]UWl JO Ai 



JNOZdnvUSUJOnUlNI 




INTRUDER SETUPZONE